Asia

Trial of Bangkok bomb suspects starts after translator row

FILE - In this Nov. 24, 2015 file photo, police officers escort suspects in the Aug. 17 blast at Erawan Shrine, Bilal Mohammad, front, and Mieraili Yusufu, rear, as they arrive at a military court in Bangkok, Thailand. Testimony begun Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016 in the trial of two men accused of the deadly 2015 bombing at a Bangkok landmark after a dispute over the defendants' translators. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit, File)

FILE - In this Nov. 24, 2015 file photo, police officers escort suspects in the Aug. 17 blast at Erawan Shrine, Bilal Mohammad, front, and Mieraili Yusufu, rear, as they arrive at a military court in Bangkok, Thailand. Testimony begun Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016 in the trial of two men accused of the deadly 2015 bombing at a Bangkok landmark after a dispute over the defendants' translators. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit, File)  (The Associated Press)

Testimony has begun in the trial of two men accused of a deadly 2015 bombing at a Bangkok landmark after a dispute over the defendants' translators.

Mieraili Yusufu and Bilal Mohammad have pleaded not guilty in the Aug. 17, 2015, bombing of the Erawan shrine, which is popular among Chinese and other tourists. Fourteen of the dead were tourists.

Testimony began Tuesday after the court overruled defense objections that two translators provided by the Chinese Embassy might be prejudiced against the defendants, Chinese nationals from the Muslim Uighur (WEE-gur) minority.

The defendants maintained that China doesn't respect Uighurs, but the court said there was no evidence the translators would be biased.

Thai authorities say a people-smuggling gang whose activities were disrupted by a crackdown carried out the bombing as revenge.