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Thai authorities have reportedly arrested at least 44 youths from the Deep South suspected of involvement in an alleged Bangkok terrorism plot.

On 13 October 2016, Sulhan Beeting, a member of the Deep South student group PNYS, reported that between 10-12 October 2016, Thai security officers arrested 44 youths from the Deep South. Most of the arrested were students from Ramkhamhaeng University in Bangkok.

36 males and 8 female Deep South youths were arrested in a raid by a combined task force of police officers and soldiers from multiple locations in the capital.

They were arrested as suspects in the predicted Bangkok attack plot which may take place between 20-25 October 2016 to mark the 12th anniversary of the Tak Bai killing, according to the police. Of 44, 11 have already been released.

“[I] feel that the arrests violated human rights….such as the use of rude words, the use of guns to threaten [the suspects] and force them to face down. Many were injured from the arrests,” said Sulhan.

He added that according to one suspect, who asked not to be named, the security officers did not even know their names before rounded them up for interrogation.

The PNYS activist also reported that 4 students of Ramkhamhaeng University and one other individual were charged after the raid with possessing Kratom leaves, Mitragyna speciosa, an addictive substance banned in Thailand.

In response to the arrests, the Federation of Patani Students and Youth (PerMAS), another prominent Deep South student activist group, issued a statement urging the Thai authorities to respect the rule of law and human rights when handling suspects. It called on the government to stop stigmatising people from the majority Muslim Deep South of Thailand.

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