Junta’s coercive political lectures to be held outside military barracks: Deputy junta head

In addition to lifting a travel ban imposed on political dissidents, the deputy junta head said that the so-called attitude adjustment sessions will no longer be held in military barracks to make things less intimidating.

On Tuesday, 31 May 2016, the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) Head’s Order No. 25/2016 was announced in the Royal Gazette. The order cancels NCPO Announcement No. 21/2014, thereby lifting the travel ban imposed on individuals listed in the announcement, most of whom are political dissidents and politicians from the Pheu Thai Party.

The order was authorised by Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, the junta leader and Prime Minister, who invoked the authority under Section 44 of the Interim Charter, which gives him absolute power.  

The cancellation of the travel ban, however, does not include political dissidents who have been charged with crimes. They still have to request court approval to travel abroad.

On the same day, Gen Prawit Wongsuwan, the deputy junta head and Defence Minister, told the media at Government House, Bangkok, that the NCPO will change the venues used for so-called attitude adjustment sessions, a euphemistic term for detention of political dissidents with lectures.

Gen Prawit said that the authorities have as yet not specified where the attitude adjustment sessions will be held, but it will make things seem softer if such sessions were held outside military barracks.

When asked if the regime could stop summoning political dissidents for such detention, the deputy junta head said that this cannot happen as yet, adding that the regime has never invoked the authority under Section 44 of the Interim Charter to arbitrarily arrest people and violate the rights and liberties of the people.

At the Royal Thai Army Headquarters, Bangkok, Col Sirichan Ngathong, deputy spokesperson of the NCPO, announced on Tuesday that the authorities will use police stations and provincial courthouses as new venues for summoning people instead of military camps, to make the environment more conducive for talks about social and political issues.

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