Thai court sentences 6 to death for southern bombings

HAT YAI, Thailand — A court in southern Thailand has sentenced six men to death for several bombings in 2016 that killed two people and wounded more than 20, an army spokesman said Wednesday.

Col. Pramote Prom-in of the Internal Security Operations Command said 10 defendants had originally received death sentences on Monday from the Pattani Provincial Court. Because of their cooperation, three had their sentences commuted to life imprisonment and another to 40 years in prison.

The prosecutors had charged the defendants for five bombings between June and December 2016 in Pattani and possession of pistols and bomb-making materials.

Thailand's three southernmost provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat have been plagued for over a decade by Muslim insurgents seeking autonomy from predominantly Buddhist Thailand. More than 6,500 people have been killed in the violence since 2004.

It is unclear if the convicted men will be put to death, since Thailand has apparently not carried out a death sentence in more than eight years.

However, just over a month ago it saw another case in which six men were sentenced to death in one case in southern Thailand for the massacre of eight members of one family, including three children, over a land and loan dispute.

Several defendants in the case in Krabi province had pleaded guilty to some charges, which would normally result in a reduction of their sentence, but the court said it did not commute the sentences because the crime was "deeply upsetting and causing public fear."

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