9 Southern Thais Convicted of Bangkok Car Bomb Plot

K-9 units are deployed at Suvarnabhumi Airport in May 2017.

BANGKOK — The Criminal Court on Tuesday found nine men guilty of conspiring to stage car bomb attacks in the capital two years ago.

All natives the Muslim-majority south, they were given jail terms ranging from four to six years. Five suspects were acquitted. Their lawyer disputed the ruling, saying his clients were tortured into making false statements during military detention.

They were among more than 40 people swept up in an October 2016 mass arrest targeting Muslim students in eastern Bangkok. The raids followed police intel warning that southern separatists were plotting to stage an attack, possibly involving car bombs, at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport.

While the rest were released without charge, 14 were later charged with possessing explosives and criminal conspiracy. They were denied bail.

The Muslim Attorney Center described the defendants as Muslim men from the south age 19-32 who live and work in Bangkok.

Defense lawyer Kitja Ali-issaho vowed to appeal. Kitja also said some of the defendants were tortured while in military custody, and statements obtained during the questioning were used against them in court proceedings.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified the 14 defendants as university students. Although students were among those initially arrested, none of them went to trial.