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US ‘troubled’ after Thai held over letter to diplomat

February 6, 2015

WASHINGTON (AP) — The State Department says it is deeply troubled by the Thai junta’s detention of critics after an opposition activist was reportedly held over a letter addressed to a U.S. diplomat.

Thai media reported that former senator Ruengkrai Leekitwattana, a member of the Pheu Thai Party, has been held at an army camp since Tuesday. He reportedly sent an open letter to U.S. Embassy Charge d’Affaires Patrick Murphy critical of the military government installed after a May coup.

The department said it has heard of the reports. It called for Thai authorities to stop summoning and detaining political figures, academics, journalists, online commentators, and peaceful protesters. It urged the immediate release of those held.

Thailand is the oldest U.S. ally in Asia, but relations have been strained by the coup.

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