This post is the latest in a series from our Bangkok correspondent, H. Numan. Today’s news story hightlights the ongoing violent Muslim insurgency in the southern part of Thailand.
From The Bangkok Post:
The cabinet voted on Friday to extend the draconian, three-year-old emergency rule in the deep South, but for the first time the prime minister promised the law “will not continue forever”.
After a cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej said the state of emergency would be extended for three more months effective on Sunday in Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat provinces, where a separatist insurgency is raging.
That will make an even three years that the region has been under the harsh emergency law passed in July, 2005, under then-premier Thaksin Shinawatra.
“We endorsed the extension of emergency rule, which has been extended 10 times,” Mr Samak told reporters after the meeting — extensions totalling 33 months from the original, three-month decree.
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“Emergency rule will not continue forever, because the situation is improving, but as of now we really need it,” he said.
Emergency rule provides security forces broad immunity from prosecution, while giving them sweeping powers of arrest, search and seizure. Suspects can be detained for up to 30 days without charge.
Human rights groups have criticised the decree and say it creates a climate of impunity in the region.
Last month, an imam in military detention died, triggering reports of brutal torture. Police have been investigating, amidst protests by villagers.
Martial law, imposed after the September 2006 coup, will also remain in place in the three southern provinces, Mr Samak said on Thursday while announcing that restrictions would be lifted in the rest of the country.
This was Bangkok reporting,