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Thailand interim government proposes bill to maintain army power

[JURIST] The interim government of Thailand [JURIST news archive] has proposed an internal security bill that would allow the military to remain a political force even after the election of a civilian-run government, according to critics Tuesday. The proposal would transform the army chief into the head of Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) [Wikipedia backgrounder] and would grant the ISOC the power to bar public demonstrations, hold detainees without charge for up to 30 days, and carry out warrantless searches. Critics like Anselmo Lee of the Thailand-based human rights organization Forum-Asia [advocacy website] suggest the bill is an attempt by the interim military-backed government to hold onto its political clout for the future. The current government maintains its intent is only to preserve internal security in Thailand. The bill must be approved the National Legislative Assembly before becoming law.

The interim government has led the country since the September 2006 bloodless coup [JURIST report] which ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra [BBC profile]. AP has more.

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