Lawyer denies “confession” by Bangkok bombing suspect

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The lawyer for a suspect in last month’s Bangkok bombing denied reports Friday that his client had confessed to planting the device that killed 20 people in the city centre.

Choochart Khanphai, the lawyer for detained suspect Bilal Muhammed, said his client was not in the country at the time of the attack on August 17.

“My client, a Turkish citizen, maintains that he came into the country on the 21st of August, which is after the bombing,” Choochard told dpa by phone.

Muhammed travelled to Thailand on a fake passport, hoping to continue to Malaysia in search of work, Choochard said.

The account contradicts media reports on Thursday, quoting unnamed sources, that Muhammed had confessed to police and detailed his path to the bomb site.

Police Chief Somyot Poompanmoung addressed those reports in a news conference Friday, saying that even if Muhammed had made such a confession, it would not stand up in court.

Somyot said that he personally believed Bilal to be the bomber, but police needed more evidence.

The bombing at the Erawan Shrine killed 20 people, mostly foreign tourists, and injured over 100 others.

Police investigations have focussed on a people-smuggling ring that trafficked Uighur refugees from China to Turkey, using Thailand as a transit point.

However, information from police and government representatives during the investigation has been criticized for apparent inconsistencies, in particular regarding the motive for the attack.

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