Law change would encourage insurgents to surrender

Law change would encourage insurgents to surrender

Deputy Minister Prawit Wongsuwon, also the defence minister. (File photo)
Deputy Minister Prawit Wongsuwon, also the defence minister. (File photo)

Security authorities will propose that the Cabinet amend the National Security Act to pave the way for southern insurgents to surrender and turn over a new leaf.

Deputy Minister Prawit Wongsuwon, also the defence minister, on Wednesday chaired the meeting of the committee in charge of emergency situations to find ways to tackle the unrest in the Deep South. 

Attending the meeting at Government House were National Security Council secretary-general Gen Wallop Raksanoh, Fourth Army Region commander Lt Gen Pornsak Poonsawat, deputy national police chief Pol Gen Srivara Ransibrahmanakul and Provincial Police Region 1 chief Pol Lt Gen Ronnasil Poosara.

During the meeting, the committee agreed in principle to amend the 2008 National Security Act to facilitate the surrender of southern insurgents facing arrest warrants. The proposed amendments would cut red tape and enable the army to work more efficiently, said a source at the meeting.

Under the proposed amendments, those wanting to surrender would register before being handed to the Internal Security Operations Command (Isoc) Region 4 Forward Command, which would send them to undergo training at a military camp for six months. After providing useful information to authorities, they would receive occupational training before being sent back home. Soldiers would monitor their activities.

During the probationary period, military authorities would evaluate the insurgents' conduct. If they behaved well and steered clear of the unrest, the authorities would propose that the Office of the Attorney-General drop criminal cases against them within two years, allowing them to lead a normal life. 

The Isoc has been assigned to propose the amendments, added the source.

The meeting also agreed to propose that the cabinet extend the state of emergency in three southern border provinces -- except for Mae Lan district in Pattani, Betong in Yala and Sungai Kolok in Narathiwat -- for three more months, from June 20 to Sept 19.

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