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Thai military council may lift martial law next month

[JURIST] Senior Thai security officials suggested Thursday that Thailand's Council for National Security [official website, in Thai] may lift martial law [JURIST report] next month after investigators wrap up a corruption probe against former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra [JURIST news archive]. The announcement came two days after Thai Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont [official website; BBC profile] held off on plans to lift martial law this month, as had been anticipated [JURIST reports]. Thai Defense Minister Boonrawd Somtas said last week that Surayud was contemplating lifting martial law [JURIST report] before leaving for an international summit in Vietnam on Nov. 18. Surayud said Tuesday that he had been reassured by US diplomats that a continued state of martial law would not be discussed at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation [official website] summit and that lifting martial law was "not urgent."

Thailand [JURIST news archive] has been under martial law since the Thai military seized power from Thaksin in a bloodless coup [JURIST report] in September. The defense minister had indicated that Thailand was concerned that key allies, including the US and Japan, would be "more comfortable" if martial law was lifted before the summit. The US urged Thailand to lift martial law [JURIST report] last month, pulling almost $24 million in funding from the Thai government. AFP has more. The Bangkok Post has local coverage.

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