Prawit: Political assembly ban won't be lifted

Prawit: Political assembly ban won't be lifted

The government on Monday brushed aside calls by human rights watchdog Amnesty International to lift the ban on political assembly and activities, saying it was an "internal affair" and not for debate.

“We have been imposing this for more than a year and most foreign governments understand us. The foreign ambassadors, ministers and military leaders who visited us did not oppose it,” Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon told local media.   

“They understand it well, that this is an internal affair, that we have restored peace and order and now move on.” 

Amnesty International issued a statement on Dec 22 urging its worldwide membership to take urgent action to demand the Thai junta to lift the ban on public assembly and political activity, as well as drop all charges against student activists attempting to stage a symbolic graft investigation at the controversial Rajabhakti Park. 

It also demanded an impartial, independent investigation into the alleged abduction and ill treatment of Sirawith Seritiwat, leader of the self-styled New Democracy Movement.  

The letter asked Amnesty members to send their appeals to Prime minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai before March 4. 

Gen Prawit on Monday said authorities had not violated the activists' human rights. 

“I think we are walking in the right direction. So we ask for cooperation from the people to help move the country forward,” Gen Prawit added.

Mr Sirawith, better known Ja New, was whisked away from Thammasat University's Rangsit campus by masked men in camouflage outfits who arrived in pickup trucks with covered licence plates about 10.30pm on Wednesday last week.  

Gen Prayut said he was arrested for violating the ban on public assembly and political activity during the Rajabhakti Park trip.

The Amnesty statement was issued on the same day Human Rights Watch called on the government to urgently investigate the "abduction and alleged beating and mistreatment" of Mr Sirawith by soldiers.



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