Regime critics face South camps

Regime critics face South camps

Attitude adjustments to be 'more intensive'

Hard-line critics of the regime will be sent to take intensive "training courses" at military camps in the southernmost provinces, army chief Teerachai Nakwanich says.

The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) has confirmed the courses, which are longer and more intensive versions of the so-called attitude-adjustment sessions, are ready to be used for those who repeatedly criticise the NCPO.

In his capacity as NCPO secretary-general, Gen Teerachai said Friday the courses are intended for people with a history of repeatedly defying NCPO instructions and will be about a week long.

The NCPO has also prepared a list of those who may have to attend the more intensive attitude-adjustment session, he said, hinting that they are the "same old faces" who have repeatedly broken the NCPO's bans on political movements.

Places prepared for conducting the new attitude-adjustment sessions include the southernmost provinces such as Yala and Pattani, Gen Teerachai said.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, meanwhile, stressed the importance of this "special measure" to deal with people intending to criticise the NCPO.

"For those who refuse to change after repeated talks [attitude-adjustment sessions], it's clearly not criticism with honest intentions as they like to claim. So, it's important to warn them more. I'm not saying the NCPO won't allow anyone to speak his or her mind at all," said Gen Prayut in his weekly broadcast address yesterday.

The attitude-adjustment measure is a matter of law and no one will be forgiven for claiming he or she doesn’t know the law that is written in the [interim] charter, Gen Prayut said.

The measure is being implemented to ensure peace and order by deterring attempts to attack the government with distorted information in the name of “democracy” and “human rights”, he said.

“Whenever they broke the law and were arrested and prosecuted, they liked to claim their human rights were violated. I don't think that’s the case and I’ve explained this situation to several countries already,” he said.

He had explained to representatives of other nations including a recent visiting US delegation in detail how the attitude adjustments are conducted, as opposed to "illusions those lobbyists had tried to invent" about what the NCPO was doing.

Peace is crucial for Thailand’s bid to win trust among other trade partners and the government can always answer any questions regarding human rights issues because it has nothing to hide, he said.

"Only proven offenders need to be prosecuted under the law and none of them have been injured or tortured. What’s happening is that suspects are handed over to the police for prosecution,” he said.

Out of nearly 70 million Thais, only a few of them are complaining about human rights and democracy, he said, adding the NCPO is not deciding what is right or wrong but working to ensure peace and order.

These people intended to break laws, he said.

The prime minister urged the public to look back at what the government has tried to change for the betterment of the country over the past two years and think about what these rebellious politicians had done to contribute to national efforts to restore peace.

Pheu Thai Party member Watana Muangsook who was released from another attitude-adjustment detention on Thursday, meanwhile, posted on his Facebook page yesterday a message reading "Tomorrow I will continue to issue political opinions".

Mr Watana was freed by the military after 73 hours in detention at the 11th Military Circle.

He criticised the NCPO detention of Worachai Hema, a fellow Pheu Thai member, on Sunday. On the same day, military officers visited Mr Watana's house and ordered him to report to the 11th Military Circle the next day.

He also wrote on his Facebook page that the NCPO has to maintain political neutrality and must not become part of the political conflict itself.

More importantly, the NCPO too is subject to checks and should be open to opinions from all sides, which is a crucial part of the reforms that the NCPO is trying to achieve, he said in his Facebook message.

He said it is a misunderstanding by the NCPO that it does not have to be held accountable in ruling the country.

"I insist on having my honest political opinions heard. I'm not intending to challenge anyone," he said.

"All I want to stress with the NCPO is that the essence of the country's reform, which is the NCPO's main objective for stepping in and writing the draft charter, is that public participation is ensured in political activities and there are checks on the use of state power," he said.

Mr Worachai said the NCPO should hold training courses at universities instead of military camps.

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