KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — An Iranian man held in Malaysia and accused of involvement in an alleged terror plot in Bangkok resisted extradition on Thursday, claiming he had been in Thailand only for a vacation.
A handcuffed Masoud Sedaghatzadeh appeared briefly in a Kuala Lumpur court, saying through an interpreter that he had nothing to do with the accusations and wanted to know why has was there.
Sedaghatzadeh was arrested at a Malaysian airport soon after an apparently accidental explosion rocked a residential Bangkok neighborhood Feb. 14. Thai police say bombs were found in the house where the blast occurred, and that Sedaghatzadeh and two Iranian men now in Thai custody were seen leaving the building.
Thai officials have said Israeli diplomats may have been the target of the alleged plot.
Sedaghatzadeh’s Malaysian lawyer, Nashua Hussin, said he insists he was in Malaysia to buy automobile parts and then flew for a holiday in Thailand, where he went to the beach town of Pattaya.
“He met a lot of Iranians there, took pictures, said hello and goodbye,” Nashua told reporters. “He does not know any of them, he can’t remember anyone. He is incriminated by the pictures.”
The court scheduled a hearing for April 16 after government lawyers said they were waiting for photos and security camera footage from Thailand.
Sedaghatzadeh’s parents attended Thursday’s hearing but refused to speak to reporters.
Israel has blamed Iran for the Feb. 14 explosion, as well as two incidents the day before: 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.
Thai authorities want Sedaghatzadeh to be handed over, but Malaysia has said the process must go through the courts because the countries have no formal extradition agreement.