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‘Election when situation is right; reforms in all aspects that are causing conflict’

Junta leader General Prayuth Chan-ocha yesterday threatened tougher action against law violators, particularly opponents of the military’s power seizure, in a move that is in line with the junta’s priority of maintaining law and order.

Prayuth, however, did not answer a reporter’s question as to whether he would become interim prime minister.

“It’s not time yet [to discuss this]. There is a plan already for that. Be patient. There will definitely be a prime minister,” Prayuth said, adding that there would also be new Cabinet members.

He said the next election would be held “as soon as possible, when the situation permits” although he could not say when as it would depend on the situation.

Speaking at his first press conference since last Thursday’s power seizure, Prayuth said the junta would enact political reforms and focus on solving the country’s problems, starting with making overdue payments to rice farmers under the previous government’s rice price-pledging scheme. “We will set up new organisations to reform every aspect that causes problems and conflicts,” he told the press conference.”

He said he would name an interim prime minister and a legislative council to implement electoral reforms and measures aimed at bolstering the economy.

Earlier yesterday, Prayuth and other members of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) took part in a ceremony to receive a royal command endorsing him as head of the NCPO.

Prayuth said that to maintain peace and order there would be “a more intense enforcement of the law” against resistance.

“If the situation improves, the different measures will be eased. Do not worry. We don’t want to cause problems for you,” he said. “We will focus on law violators, use of war weapons, resistance or any action that disrupts peace in the country.”

He said a curfew would remain in place from 10pm to 5am, as it was still needed, although people affected could inform the relevant authorities about their problems.

On Sunday, in a stern move to tighten security, the NCPO announced that any offences against the monarchy and national security, as well as violations of its orders, would be tried in a military court.

Hundreds of anti-coup protesters gathered at Victory Monument yesterday while a small group of pro-military demonstrators gathered at Democracy Monument. Another group of about 30 people, led by senior Foreign Ministry official Sasiwat Wongsinsawat, gathered near the ministry on Si Ayutthaya Road to offer moral support to the military.

At his press conference, Prayuth emphasised his full power to rule and called on the public to understand the military’s sincerity. He said they would do their best to solve problems as soon as possible.

“I’m not here to fight but to fix. I will do anything [to solve the problems],” he said, explaining the tough measures but stressing they were necessary.

“The less you allow me to speak, the more I’ll be able to work. Please be calm and patient, like you have always been. Crisis has plagued the country for nine years now.”

The NCPO chief also warned the media against amplifying conflicts. He said if the media used Facebook to create comments that escalated conflicts, the NCPO would summon them and media organisations would not be able to help.

He said he would start monitoring the media, Facebook and websites and would regard the posting of messages that incite conflict as violations against peace and order.

Referring to the summons to political figures, he said none of those asked to report were suffering, though their accommodationhttp://cdncache-a.akamaihd.net/items/it/img/arrow-10x10.png demonstrated to them how soldiers lived.

Prayuth said he would urgently form a team of experts to advise the NCPO in running the country.

He said the advisory team would have experts from various fields and would be the top-tier advisory panel. There would be also lower-level advisory teams to advise the NCPO members in charge of various tasks.

DSI revamp high on agenda

Posted by pakin On May - 26 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Future chiefs of the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) will likely be appointed by a screening committee to prevent political meddling.

Kittipong Kittiyarak, justice permanent secretary and acting minister, said after a meeting with high-ranking officials that the ministry would propose three urgent agendas to the National Council of Peace and Order (NCPO).

First is to allow underprivileged people more access to justice process, push community justice and set up a justice fund.

Second, the DSI will need to be remodelled, probably after the Royal Thai Police of which chief is selected by a committee instead of by a minister to minimise political interference.

Third, justice process needs to be seriously reformed.

Mr Kittipong, also leader of the Reform Now network, was rumoured to be on the “neutral” prime ministers list.

However, he said he had never been approached for the position.

Prayuth endorsed as head of NCPO

Posted by pakin On May - 26 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Royal appointment endowed at closed door ceremony.

A royal command has been issued appointing Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha, the army chief, chairman of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO).

Gen Prayuth officially received the royal command at a ceremony on Monday morning at a reception room on the second floor of army headquarters on Ratchadamnern Avenue.

There was tight security and no reporters were allowed to cover the ceremony.

Security law violators targeted

Posted by pakin On May - 26 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Court martial threat to lese majeste offenders

The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) is hardening its stance on violators of lese majeste and national security laws as well as those who breach the junta’s standing orders.

In its 37th announcement Sunday, the NCPO said violators of the Criminal Code’s Sections 107-112 and 113-118 would be subject to court-martial proceedings.

Those who defy the junta’s orders would also suffer the same fate, the NCPO warned.

The measure will not cover legal violations committed during the invocation of the 2008 Internal Security Act and the 2005 Emergency Decree, it said.

The statement, signed by NCPO and army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha, took immediate effect.

Sections 107-112 deal with lese majeste offences against the royal family and representatives appointed by His Majesty the King. Sections 113-118 cover the broad subject of “national security”.

Gen Prayuth had earlier warned anyone making offensive remarks against the monarchy to immediately cease their actions.

In recent years, calls had been made for the Information and Communication Technology Ministry and security agencies to take action against violators of lese majeste law and websites which contain offensive comments about the monarchy.

However, the problem has not been seriously addressed. (Story continues below)

According to a statement posted on www.ilaw.or.th, the website of Law Education for People, it is unusual for civilians to be tried in courts martial, as defendants are given no right to appoint a lawyer or to file a suit with the court. Their case must be handed over to military prosecutors to act as their legal representatives.

The website said that if the military court is expected to deliver justice, the fact that defenders cannot appoint their own legal representative might make them feel as though they are being treated unfairly.

Meanwhile, a royal command formally appointing Gen Prayuth as leader of the NCPO will be issued Monday, according to Lt Gen Panuwat Nakwong, an assistant to the army chief of staff.

A member of the public offers drinking water to a soldier on security duty at the protest site.

He said Gen Prayuth is expected to receive the royal command Monday morning and would make a public address to the nation after that.

He said the address is expected to outline plans for the introduction of an interim constitution, the appointment of a new government, and the setting up of the national legislative assembly and political reform body.

Meanwhile, the NCPO says it will begin handing over to law enforcement authorities today a group of individuals detained by coup-makers who face criminal charges.

None of the figures summoned to report to the NCPO will be detained for more than the maximum seven days allowed under martial law, and the timing of their release will depend on their role in the political conflict, it said.

He was reading a statement from Gen Prayuth clarifying the political developments in recent days, during which time some 200 prominent political figures have been summoned to report to the coup-makers.

According to Col Winthai, none of the detainees have been tortured or mistreated and they are being kept in suitable accommodationhttp://cdncache-a.akamaihd.net/items/it/img/arrow-10x10.png. They have been asked to explain their side of story as the NCPO seeks to establish facts about the current situation.

“We have informed them of the need to cooperate to help solve the country’s problems,” Col Winthai quoted Gen Prayuth as saying.

“Please be informed that it does not stem from hatred or personal opinions.” According to Col Winthai, searches and raids of suspicious locations will continue after large weapons hauls were seized over the past week.

The NCPO spokesman also clarified the alleged detention of Panthongtae Shinawatra, son of the fugitive ex-prime minister Thaksin, after pictures of Mr Panthongtae being escorted by troops were circulated via social media networks on Friday night.

He said Mr Panthongtae was not in military custody. After “a talk to fine-tune understanding”, Mr Panthongtae was escorted from Chiang Mai to his home in Bangkok as per his wishes, Col Winthai said.

Pravit Rojanaphruk, a senior reporter of The Nation newspaper and a columnist for Prachatai website, and Paiwong Techanarong, owner of the Bonanza Khao Yai Resorthttp://cdncache-a.akamaihd.net/items/it/img/arrow-10x10.png, summoned by the NCPO turned up at the Royal Thai Army auditorium Monday.

The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand expressed deep concerns over the detention of Mr Pravit and Thanapol Eawsakul, the editor of Fah Diew Gan magazine.

“While this may impede coverage in the short term–and make it harder for journalists on the ground to produce accurate, balanced reports–it will not diminish interest in this story or make it go away,” warned the FCCT.

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