Author Topic: "Nakhon Ratchasima is still a dangerous place - emergency law is still needed!"  (Read 635 times)

Offline Johnnie F.

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Emergency law revoked in three provinces

The cabinet on Tuesday agreed to lift the state of emergency in three more provinces, deputy government spokesman Supachai Jaisamut said.

The three provinces are Lampang in the North and Sakon Nakhon and Roi-et in the Northeast.

Mr Supachai said the cabinet reached this decision because there have been no unusual activities in the three provinces,  where the situation is under control.

The decree was originally imposed in Bangkok on April 7 and extended to 23 other provinces, during the protests of the red-shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship.

On July 6, the cabinet decided to lift the decree in five provinces - Nan, Kalasin, Nakhon Pathom, Si Sa Ket and Nakhon Sawan.

The decree is now still in force in Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Ayutthaya, Pathum Thani, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Ubon Ratchathani, Maha Sarakham, Nong Bua Lamphu, Mukdahan, Udon Thani, Nakhon Ratchasima, Chaiyaphum, Khon Kaen, Chon Buri and Samut Prakan.

Mr Supachai said security officials in the other 16 provinces reported continued political activities such as using community radio to incite unrest. There were also fears of sabotage and the possible assassination of important people.

Two months of mass anti-government rallies by the red-shirts, who were seeking immediate elections, sparked outbreaks of violence that left 89 people dead, mostly civilians, and about 1,900 injured, ending in a bloody army crackdown in May.

Critics say the government may be fanning the crisis as it clamps down and censors the protest movement -- which broadly supports fugitive former premier Thaksin Shinawatra -- rather than addressing its grievances.

A visiting senior US envoy last week called for the state of emergency to be lifted "as soon as possible".

William Burns, the State Department's number three, said that to retain these powers indefinitely was "not healthy for a democratic system".

The authorities have used the powers to arrest hundreds of suspects -- including most of the top leaders of the UDD's protest movement -- and shut down anti-government TV channels, radio stations and websites.

New York-based group Human Rights Watch said earlier this month the government was "systematically using" the emergency decree to hold suspects without charge for up to 30 days in unofficial places of detention.

Many detainees have been held at military camps but their exact numbers and whereabouts are unknown to their families, it said.

According to Human Rights Watch, putting detainees in the hands of security personnel who often lack training and experience in civilian law enforcement increases the risk of serious abuses.

The government has rejected calls from the opposition for the decree to be lifted in Bangkok for a parliamentary by-election in the capital on July 25 in which red-shirt co-leader Korkaew Pikulthong detained on terrorism charges is running.

A separate state of emergency has been in place since 2005 in three Muslim-majority southern provinces where a separatist insurgency has left more than 4,100 people dead in six years, with no end in sight to the violence.

Bangkok Post