BANGKOK, May 28 (Xinhua) -- Former pro-government protest leaders were released on Wednesday after a seven-day detention at undisclosed army barracks.
The activists had been detained after they had reported to the National Council for Peace and Order, the official title of a military junta headed by army chief Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha who staged last Thursday's coup to oust an elected caretaker government.
They had been put under army custody and given lodging and accommodations at "safehouses" located at the undisclosed army barracks.
At the air-conditioned "safehouses," they were treated as " guests" and not as inmates, according to deputy army spokesman Col. Winthai Suvaree.
"There were no such thing as bondage and torture to those detainees who have been given proper accommodations," he said.
Those released at the army auditorium where they reported to the army council hours earlier on Wednesday included pro- government Red Shirt leaders Chatuporn Prompand, Nattavut Saikua, Verakant Musikapong and Weng and Tida Tojirakarn.
"We have been treated well by the military. We took a good rest and got books to read," said Verakant during a taped broadcast on the army-run TV Channel 5.
Upon being released at the army auditorium, none made comments to reporters who had waited to see them.
Instead, they slipped into waiting cars which separately took them out and were apparently headed home.
A few days earlier, anti-government protest leaders who had also been detained by the army at unknown army barracks had been released.
They included former deputy premier Suthep Thaugsuban and several ex-Democrat Party legislators who had orchestrated six- month-long street protests aimed at ousting the caretaker government earlier headed by deposed premier Yingluck Shinawatra.
Yingluck had been reportedly held under army custody for a day at the First Infantry Division just across the street from the army auditorium over last weekend.
All those politicians had been put under army custody for fear that they might probably have triggered street bloodsheds and subsequently civil war, according to Gen. Prayuth, who has been approved by the Thai monarch as head of the coup junta.
According to deputy army spokeswoman Col. Sirichan Ngathong, a total of 253 people, mostly including politicians, activists and academics, had been summoned for questioning and briefing at the army auditorium.
Of that total, only 200 had reported, 124 of whom have already been released while 76 others have remained in army detention, the woman colonel said.
Fifty-three persons, including former interior minister Charupong Ruangsuwan, have not reported as yet.
Those who may have failed to meet the deadline for their reporting to the council on Tuesday will be subject to penalties under martial rule and be brought to the martial court.
Former education minister Chaturon Chaisang who was on Tuesday brought under army custody from the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand, where he had delivered a speech against the coup will be judged by the martial court for his failure to meet such a deadline.
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