Thai cabinet to extend emergency decree in restive south

21:01, October 19, 2010      

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Thai cabinet meeting on Tuesday had approved to extend the emergency decree imposed in the three southernmost provinces for another three months, the Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said.

According to the PM, the emergency decree has been extended for twenty one times since it was first in place in the southernmost provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat in 2005.

He said as there have been constant complaints on power abuse of the local authorities, he planned to hold a special meeting with Royal Thai Army chief, National Police chief, chief of Internal Security Operations Command, Justice Minister and Interior Minister for discussion.

"I don't want the complaints to contribute to development of serious conflicts," the premier said.

In the area that the situation has proved to improve, the emergency decree might be lifted, according to him.

The emergency decree permits the detention of suspects up to 30 days without any charge and also grants officials immunity from prosecution. It must be renewed by the cabinet every three months.

More than 4,100 people have been killed in over six years of separatist turmoil in Yala, Pattani, Narathiwat southern provinces that were once an independent sultanate of Pattani which was annexed by predominantly Buddhist Thailand in 1909. No credible group has claimed responsibility for the violence or announced any demands.

Source: Xinhua


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