[JURIST] A Thailand military court on Tuesday indicted two foreigners who authorities believe were involved in the Erawan Shrine bombing last August. The two men from the western China’s Xinjiang region have been charged [AP report] with 10 counts, including conspiracy to explode bombs and to commit premeditated murder. An arrest warrant was issued in August after a sketch from a security video was created to illustrate a foreign man thought to be the bomber who targeted and bombed the Erawan Shrine [backgrounder]. The man in the video left a backpack at the shrine 15 minutes before the explosion. It is believed that one of the men in custody is the bomber illustrated from the sketch.
Thailand’s political system has been unstable since the 2006 military coup [BBC report] by the Royal Thai Army against then-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra [BBC profile], brother of Yingluck. After the military overthrew the government last year, the junta has been accused of violating human rights in its attempts to maintain order. Martial law was instituted on May 20, 2014, two days before the coup that ousted the former Thai government and installed General Prayuth Chan-ocha [BBC profile] as the country’s new prime minister. Since then, political demonstrations have been banned, and hundreds have been arrested for protesting the junta. A group of Thai human rights activists denounced the country’s state of martial law in February, accusing the ruling military junta of imposing a judicial “twilight zone” [JURIST report]. The current prime minister Prayuth Chan-ocha announced in April that the country’s military government would lift the martial law [JURIST report] and replace it with a new security order. Also in April, Thailand completed [JURIST report] an initial draft of a new constitution, which, if ratified, would be the country’s twentieth since 1932.