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US gives cautious welcome to Thailand lifting martial law

[WASHINGTON] The United States has cautiously welcomed news that Thailand is lifting martial law, but voiced its concerns about the new security measures replacing it and called for the full restoration of civil liberties in the kingdom.

Thailand's junta officially lifted martial law Wednesday, 10 months after seizing power in a coup, but replaced it with a new executive order retaining sweeping powers for the military and junta chief Prayut Chan-O-Cha.

Special security measures - including a ban on political gatherings of more than five people - will continue to blanket the nation, which has seen civil liberties eroded since the coup in May.

The State Department said in an email to AFP that it had yet to see full details of the proposal, but that it would welcome the lifting of martial law.

"It is important that any new security measure end the practice of trying civilians in military courts, end detention without charge, and allow individuals to freely exercise fundamental rights, including the rights of freedom of expression and peaceful assembly," the statement late Wednesday added.

"We are concerned that moving to a security order under Article 44 will not accomplish any of these objectives. We would welcome the actual, full restoration of civil liberties in Thailand," it said.


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