The Associated Press Staff
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — A Malaysian court ruled Monday that an Iranian man accused of plotting to attack Israeli targets in Bangkok must be extradited to Thailand.
Masoud Sedaghatzadeh said he planned to appeal the decision. He is not expected to be immediately deported.
Sedaghatzadeh was arrested at a Malaysian airport soon after an apparently accidental explosion rocked a Bangkok neighborhood on Feb. 14.
Bombs were found at the house where the explosion occurred, and Thai police say Sedaghatzadeh and two other Iranian men now in Thai custody had been seen leaving the house.
Thai officials have said Israeli diplomats may have been the target of the alleged plot.
A Kuala Lumpur district court on Monday ruled in favor of the Malaysian government’s bid to deport Sedaghatzadeh to the Thai capital.
Sedaghatzadeh, 31, insists he visited Thailand for a vacation and came to Malaysia to buy automobile parts for his business in Tehran.
“I do not belong to any terrorist organization either in Iran or outside Iran,” he said in court documents filed Monday by his Malaysian lawyer.
Judge Komathy Suppiah ruled there was sufficient evidence that Sedaghatzadeh was a fugitive who could be handed over to Thai custody.
Sedaghatzadeh has 15 days to file an appeal, said his lawyer, Nashir Hussin.
Malaysian prosecutors have said the Iranian was wanted by Thailand on suspicion of “taking part in making and possessing an explosive device,” as well as causing an explosion that led to human injuries and property damage. He faces life in prison if convicted in Thailand.
Israel has blamed Iran for the explosions, which wounded five, including one of the alleged bombers, as well as two incidents the day before. These included a bombing in India that wounded an Israeli diplomat’s wife and driver, and an attempted bombing in the former Soviet republic of Georgia. Iran has denied involvement. (end)