A Thailand court on Thursday sentenced five alleged Muslim separatists to death, who were accused of killing four soldiers.
The Pattani Provincial Court had on Wednesday pronounced the men guilty of shooting dead the soldiers, while they were on patrol in July 2012.
Muslim separatists have been carrying out frequent attacks over the last 10 years demanding more autonomy in the southern Thailand provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat, where there is a Muslim majority.
However, human rights groups have condemned the sentencing.
"The death penalty is a human rights violation in itself and will do nothing to stem the tide of violence in Thailand's south," Amnesty International's Rupert Abbott told AFP.
The erstwhile civilian government had offered to conduct peace talks with rebel leaders, but streets protests in Thailand earlier this year had ended in a military coup.
The military government is reportedly repressing fundamental rights, Human Rights Watch has said.
"Violence does not come from the separatists alone. The security forces have their own share of responsibility," Sunai Phasuk of Human Rights Watch said.
On Thursday, Thailand's deputy prime minister had announced that general elections will be held only in 2016.