[JURIST] Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha [BBC backgrounder] announced [press release] Wednesday that the country’s military government will lift martial law in place since May and replace it with a new security order. The new order has garnered significant criticism to the almost unlimited power granted to the already powerful Thai military. Article 44 of the interim constitution [text], which will replace martial law, allows the prime minister to issue executive orders to “disrupt or suppress” threats to national security. If an incident is to occur, under the new order, military personnel are allowed to apprehend those involved without an arrest warrant. The Thai military government has promised democratization in late 2015 through holding elections but the government has continuously jailed and censored the media coverage of the issue.
Thailand has experienced great upheaval since last year’s military coup of. On May 20 Thailand’s armed forces, led by then-General Prayuth, declared martial law [JURIST report] and began a regime of censorship. Two days later the military proceeded to take control [JURIST report] of the country and suspend the constitution. The governmental control was followed by the replacement of civilian courts with military tribunals. The military saw themselves validated in late July when the king expressed his support [JURIST report] for the interim constitution. However, Thailand’s armed forces has faced resistance from the international community and the Thai people themselves. In August the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights [official website] spoke out against Thailand’s prosecution and sentencing practices as a threat [JURIST report] to the right of free expression. In September, a group of Thai human rights activists denounced [JURIST report] the country’s martial law and called for it to end.