Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Thai junta can still detain people without charge

Jul 10. 2019
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By The Nation

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Politicians and the public have voiced dissatisfaction with the junta’s decision to hang on to its order authorising arbitrary military detention.

Even though the junta decided on Tuesday to ease its control by lifting 70-odd old orders such as media intervention and trying cases in military court, critics say there is still room for improvement. 

Anti-junta Future Forward Party secretary-general Piyabutr Saengkanokkul said on Tuesday that the decision to hang on to some orders was made just before the National Council for Peace and Order is dissolved, because it wants its leader General Prayut Chan-o-cha to have full power until the last minute. He also said that the revocation of 70 old orders was not quite enough.

“The junta is still supported by the Constitution’s Article 279 because it pardons them for all their actions,” the former law professor said, adding that his party’s mission is to have this law abolished in order to stop the junta from being above the law.

He also said that the though the junta’s orders are being revoked, their impact will still be felt in society.

According to Piyabutr, the Future Forward Party is looking to launch a motion in Parliament to set up a committee to study all the impacts these orders have had. 

“It’s not like we can forget these orders ever existed once they are revoked,” he said. 

Pro-rights organisation iLaw, which has been campaigning for the junta to revoke its “announcements” and orders after the election, acknowledged the junta’s move. However, it said the order that allows soldiers to detain people without a charge for seven days and other similar orders that remain are an infringement on people’s rights and freedom. 

The organisation said there are some 20 junta orders that must be removed, and it is awaiting Parliament’s approval of the proposal it has submitted with more than 13,000 signatures.

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