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Thai military says martial law to continue for month at least

[JURIST] Thai Defense Minister Boonrawd Somtas said Wednesday that Thailand will remain under martial law for at least a month as a safeguard against political turmoil, while Gen. Sondhi Boonyaratkalin, who led the Sept. 19 bloodless coup [JURIST report], defended martial law as unintrusive on the daily lives of Thai citizens. The comments from the military follow Tuesday's declaration from newly installed Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont [official website; BBC profile], who promised that his government will lift martial law "as soon as we can and when the situation is suitable." 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 [JURIST news archive]. AP has more. Reuters has additional coverage.

Boonyaratkalin also said that the Council for National Security [Bangkok Post backgrounder], a policy-setting body controlled by the Thai military, has appointed 250 Thai citizens from the public and private sectors to the National Legislative Assembly (NLA). The NLA is responsible for drafting an permanent constitution that will replace a 39-article interim constitution [text] drawn up by the military leadership and approved [JURIST report] by King Adulyadej earlier this month. The permanent constitution is expected to be ready in time for national elections scheduled for October 2007. PTI has more.

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