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KUALA LUMPUR: A Malaysian court on Monday approved the extradition of an Iranian to Thailand on suspicion of being involved in an alleged bomb plot against Israeli diplomats in the country.
Masoud Sedaghatzadeh, arrested at Kuala Lumpur’s international airport on February 15, is among several Iranian suspects held over incidents in Bangkok that saw Tehran accused of a terror campaign against Israel — which it denied.
The alleged plot emerged after an apparently unintended explosion at a house in the Thai capital. One suspect hurled a bomb at police while fleeing, blowing off his own legs.
At a criminal sessions court in Kuala Lumpur, Judge S. Komathy described Sedaghatzadeh, 31, as a “fugitive criminal,” said she disagreed with defence arguments that there was no evidence against him.
“In my view the conduct of the respondent is inconsistent with that of an innocent man,” she said.
“The prosecution has shown that the respondent is a fugitive criminal... as he is wanted by the Thai police for offences which come within the definition of extradition offences.
“I’m allowing the application for extradition and the respondent is to be detained in prison pending an order from the minister (of home affairs).” Sedaghatzadeh, who was handcuffed and wore a striped polo shirt, told the hearing through an interpreter that he would appeal to the high court against the extradition.
“I require more time to defend myself,” he said.
The explosions in Thailand followed bomb attacks targeting Israeli embassy staff in India and Georgia the previous day, pushing tensions between arch-foes Iran and Israel to a new spike.
Thai police have said that Israeli diplomats were the intended target of the plot.
Sedaghatzadeh has said he is a car parts dealer who came to Malaysia on business, while his lawyer said his client had visited Thailand for a “short holiday”. He was looking to travel on to Iran when he was arrested, Malaysian authorities have said. - Bernama