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Ex-Thai PM allowed back but should await end to martial law: defense minister

[JURIST] Thailand Defense Minister Boonrawd Somtas said Sunday that former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra [BBC profile] may "come home," but should wait until martial law is revoked. Martial law has been in place since the mid-September bloodless coup [JURIST report] led by Gen. Sondhi Boonyaratkalin [BBC profile]. New Thai Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont [BBC profile] has said Thaksin contacted him about his desire to return to Thailand [JURIST news archive]. Surayud instructed the former PM to wait until the Council on National Security [Bangkok Post backgrounder] addressed the security issues of his homecoming.

Human rights groups and the US government [JURIST reports] have urged Thailand to revoke the martial law imposed [JURIST report] on the country by military leaders after the coup, calling the emergency provisions and the new military-sponsored government a threat to democracy in Thailand. Surayud said Sunday he will evaluate whether martial law can be lifted [Standard report] later this week. Thaksin has been in London since the coup. Xinhua has more.

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