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Thailand shelves plan for new security law to counter southern unrest

Thailand on Friday backed away from a controversial plan for a new security law aimed at stamping out a separatist-inspired insurgency, as fresh bloodshed rocked the Muslim-dominated southern region. Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra admitted this week that his government was studying legislation from the United States and Malaysia that allows detention without charge to combat violence in a region where martial law is being used in some areas to quell violence that has left more than 550 dead this year. But a new law failed to win approval at a meeting between Thaksin and his security ministers and related agencies, Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said. “The meeting reached concensus that to deal with violence in the south the current laws should be enough, as martial law is already declared and authorises the military to be more powerful than civilian officials,” he told reporters after the closed-door session. Wissanu warned that tough new rules might be implemented if conditions deteriorated.”The future is another story if the situation worsens,” he said.Martial law has been in place for years in several districts in Thailand’s Muslim-dominated south but for the most part authorities have not fully implemented the measures, which allow security forces to detain anyone for up to 14 days without charge or a warrant and declare curfews. Full Story

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