Thailand indicts 26 on terrorism, arms charges

national August 23, 2014 21:31

By Agence France-Presse

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Twenty-six people accused of plotting an attack in Thailand have been indicted by a military court on charges including weapon possession and conspiring to commit terrorism, their lawyer said Saturday.

The suspects were arrested in northeastern Thailand -- a traditional stronghold of fugitive premier Thaksin Shinawatra -- after the army seized power in a bloodless coup on May 22.

The 24 men and two women -- whose ages range from 40 to 72 years old – were indicted by a military court in the northeastern city of Khon Kaen on Friday, their lawyer Winyat Chatmontree told AFP.

He said the group -- named the "Khon Kaen Model" by the army -- include farmers, a bank security guard, a school director and business owners.

Some of them are followers of the "Red Shirts" protest movement, which broadly supports Thaksin, according to Winyat.

Most of them were seized in an apartment a day after army chief Prayut Chan-ocha overthrew an elected government allied to Thaksin.

"The army arrested them and found guns, hand grenades, knives -- things you're not allowed to have without permission," said Winyat.

"But they said other people asked them to keep them," he added.

He said the maximum sentence, if convicted, was the death penalty, although executions are now rare.

At the time of their arrest, the army said the suspects were allegedly intent on a "large-scale attack" in Khon Kaen, one of the largest northeastern cities.

The suspects are being held at a civilian prison in Khon Kaen.

Street violence linked to months of mass opposition rallies left nearly 30 people dead before the May coup.


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