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Thailand: Human rights protections must be upheld

21 September 2006

Thailand: Human rights protections must be upheld

Following a military coup d'etat and the declaration of martial law in Thailand yesterday, Amnesty International called for the military authorities to comply with Thailand's obligations under international human rights law.

Amnesty International expressed particular concern that the constitution has been rescinded, political gatherings have been banned, impositions announced on internet reporting and politicians detained.

"No one should be penalized for their peaceful exercise of the rights to freedom of expression, association or assembly", said Ced Simpson the New Zealand Executive Director of Amnesty International. "Anyone taken into military custody must either be charged within a reasonable time with a recognizably criminal offence, or released."

Political gatherings of more than five people have been banned, with a penalty of six months imprisonment. Coup council leaders have also called on the media to "cover news truthfully and constructively in order to promote unity in the country", and requested that the Ministry of Telecommunications control or block the distribution of information through the internet that may affect the council's work.

Coup leaders are reported to have stated that Thaksin Shinawatra's Deputy Prime Minister, Chidchai Vanasatidya is in custody and that his Secretary General, Prommin Lertsuridej, has been "invited to stay" at army headquarters. Several others, including a cabinet member, are reported to have been detained or had their movement restricted.


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