BANGKOK (AP) — Two Iranian men arrested last year after a botched terror plot in Bangkok that allegedly targeted Israeli diplomats proclaimed their innocence Friday, saying they were unaware of the stash of homemade bombs found in the house they were staying in.
Their lawyer had given similar accounts earlier, but their testimony Friday was the first in their own words since hearings began last year.
Friday’s hearing came more than a year after explosives blew apart their home in a residential Bangkok neighborhood on Valentine’s Day last year. The explosion uncovered a plot that Thai authorities say was aimed at Israeli envoys and that Israel says was part of an Iranian-backed network of terror.
One of the two Iranians, Saeid Moradi, said Friday that he found two radio bombs in the cabinet of the home, which he said he slept in for just one night. He said he didn’t know where the bombs came from and that he immediately tried to take them outside to dispose of them.
Moradi, a factory technician from Tehran and a former soldier, dropped one of the bombs in an alley, then encountered two policemen on a nearby street. He said he feared police would try to search him and could detonate the bomb by mistake, so he dropped it and it exploded — blowing off his legs.
“If it was going to explode, at least I would die alone,” Moradi told the court, claiming he dropped the bomb to save lives. “But if it didn’t, I was willing to surrender.”
Another detained Iranian, Mohammad Kharzei, also testified that he knew nothing about the bombs.
If convicted, Moradi and Kharzei could face 27 years in prison on charges of possession of unlawful explosives and causing explosions that damaged property.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.