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Thailand's military government bans Amnesty International talk alleging torture

Amnesty International has accused Thailand's junta, which power in a 2014 coup, of carrying out a 'culture of torture'. Photograph: (Getty)

Bangkok Thailand Sep 28, 2016, 06.49 AM (IST)

Thailand's military government on Wednesday barred human rights group Amnesty International (AI) from holding a news conference about the release of a report alleging that Thai soldiers and police committed torture.

The group said it had documented 74 cases of torture perpetrated by Thailand's military government. Two of the organisation's staff were scheduled to speak at the launch of the report in Bangkok today, but were denied on legal grounds, AI spokesman Omar Waraich told AFP. 

"The authorities said to us that...if any representatives from Amnesty International spoke at the event, they would be in violation of Thailand's labour laws," he said. "They did not specify further," he added.

Amnesty International has accused the junta, which took power in the Southeast Asian country in a coup in 2014, of carrying out a "culture of torture".

The government bars people from holding political rallies and protests and has detained dozens for criticising the regime. Since the coup, soldiers and police have been dispatched in large numbers to clamp down on free speech at events featuring political debates and human rights issues. 

"Torture is taking place, it's taking place by the army, by the police, and that's what the report documented," Waracih told AFP, adding that finding ways to prevent the oppressive climate from flourishing was "difficult". 

Earlier this year, the authorities slapped defamation charges on three rights activists for publishing a report on torture in Thailand's insurgency-hit south. 

(WION with inputs from AFP)

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