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Asia-Pacific

Thai military detains former prime minister

Yingluck Shinawatra among dozens of politicians held after being summoned to a military base following Thursday's coup.

Last updated: 24 May 2014 07:03
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Thailand's former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and dozens of prominent politicians have been detained by the military a day after it took control of government.

Yingluck and Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan, her temporary replacement, were among the 39 prominent figures who on Friday reported to a military facility in Bangkok. 

A Thai military spokesman, who gave his name as Colonel Veerachon, told Al Jazeera that all those who had reported to the base had been taken into detention. 

"We are looking after them very well. They are all under detention. We want them to talk and give them some time to relax. They are not together at the moment," he said.

However, he could not confirm their locations.

The Reuters news agency quoted another senior military official as saying Yingluck's sister and brother-in-law were among those being held. The two relatives have held top political posts. 

"We will do so for not more than week, that would be too long. We just need to organise matters in the country first," said the officer.

Thailand's army chief, General Prayuth Chan-ocha, seized control of the government on Thursday, two days after he declared martial law. He said the military had to restore order and push through reforms after six months of political turmoil.

The military declared a curfew from 10pm until 5am, suspended the constitution and detained some politicians. Rival protest camps were ordered to disperse.

Meanwhile, the United States on Friday suspended $3.5m in aid - a third of its military assistance to Thailand - and urged "the immediate restoration of civilian rule, a return to democracy and obviously, respect for human rights during this period of uncertainty," State Department spokesperson Marie Harf said.

Yingluck was removed from office on May 7 after the country's constitutional court ruled she abused her power by removing a civil servant to benefit a relative.

Yingluck was presiding over an interim government after she dissolved the lower house of parliament in December in a failed attempt to defuse six months of anti-government protests. A planned election was disrupted and then annulled.

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Source:
Al Jazeera And Reuters
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