NCPO to detain dissidents in 'friendlier' surroundings

NCPO to detain dissidents in 'friendlier' surroundings

The junta no longer will use military camps as venues for “attitude adjustment” re-education sessions, instead sending dissidents to “friendlier” government buildings for the talks.

National Council for Peace and Order deputy spokeswoman Sirichan Ngathong said the government previously "invited" government critics to military compounds to persuade them not to speak out against policies and actions of the military regime. The "invitations" could not be declined.

However, from now on, provincial halls and police stations will be used to house the political opponents instead of military bases.

The change came less than a week after the NCPO announced it would lift travel restrictions imposed on more than 150 political figures shortly after the junta seized power in May 2014.

The move aimed to create a better atmosphere for talks and make travel more convenient for those summoned, Col Sirichan said.

But the move also relieves the regime of pressure from domestic and international human rights advocates, which have blasted military detention of civilians.

Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan on Tuesday admitted that the move was intended to ease restrictions previously imposed by the regime. But he noted that the sessions would continue and those summoned would still have to report to military officials.

"We are trying to make everything more relaxed," Gen Prawit said of the forced incarcerations.

Critics also have intensified calls for the regime to lift a ban on political activities. But Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha rejected their request, saying it could lead to public disorder and threaten the government's reform roadmap.

Since it took power in May 2014, the military has called in hundreds of political figures for what was termed "attitude adjustment" at military camps. Usually they were released after one or two days after they signed an agreement to refrain from engaging in political activities

In April, however, it launched a more-intensive version of an attitude adjustment course to deal with politicians or others who repeatedly expressed opinions against the government and NCPO. Military camps nationwide had been prepared to host the re-education course for seven days for frequent government critics.

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