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The number of terrorism suspects in overcrowded prisons in Thailand is growing, affecting the management and rehabilitation of inmates, an official from a government-funded institute told an international counterterrorism conference Tuesday.
Most of the suspects are believed held in Thailand's insurgency-torn south, where rebels in Muslim-majority provinces bordering Malaysia have launched bomb attacks and shootings since 2004, targeting mostly troops or police but also civilians.
The current prison population is three times larger than total capacity, Thailand’s Institute of Justice (TIJ) Deputy Executive Director Nathee Chitsawang told the final day of a two-day conference on deradicalization and countering violent extremism, hosted by Malaysia.
Nathee did not provide the number of inmates in prisons in the country or in any of the southern provinces in Thailand, which he acknowledged has faced a “prison overcrowding crisis” for more than a decade.
But he said that although more than 50 percent of prisoners in Thailand are drugs-related offenders, “the situation seems to be getting worse when the number of terrorists in prison has continued growing.”
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