Thai Court Dismisses Criminal Defamation Charges Against Andy Hall -

Thai Court Dismisses Criminal Defamation Charges Against Andy Hall

  • Published on
    May 31, 2018
  • Written by:
    Jamison Liang
  • Category:
    Anti-Slavery Activists, Forced Labor, Human Trafficking, Law & Policy, Supply Chain, Victories
Hero Banner

A Thai appeals court has quashed criminal defamation charges against activist Andy Hall, who was sued by fruit packaging company Natural Fruit after exposing human rights violations at its factory.

Hall had been facing three years in jail and a £3,500 fine after being convicted in September 2016. His legal battle has been ongoing since 2013, when Hall conducted research for Finnish NGO Finnwatch on labor abuses against Burmese workers at Natural Fruit’s pineapple canning factory.

Join our call to see justice for Andy Hall.

Today’s verdict represented a remarkable reversal, with the court finding that Hall’s research on Natural Fruit revealed abuses that should be made public.

The Telegraph reports:

Sunya Joongdee, a lawyer working for Mr Hall, said that Thursday’s ruling had dismissed the criminal defamation case, which also resulted in the collapse of a computer crime case relating to information that had allegedly been uploaded online.

He said the court had accepted that Mr Hall’s interviews with migrant workers revealed information that should be made public.

The court’s decision can be further appealed at Thailand’s Supreme Court by Natural Fruit or Andy Hall.

“The Appeals Court’s decision to acquit Andy Hall is much welcome. It is also a much-needed acknowledgement by Thailand’s justice system that Hall’s work – researching allegations of companies abuse of human rights of migrant workers –  is legitimate, not a crime and in the public interest,” said Sonja Vartiala, executive director of Finnwatch.

Hall left Thailand at the end of 2016 citing judicial harassment, and he was represented in court today by his Thai legal defense team.

Following the verdict, Hall posted on Twitter, “The only thing could think of right now to say is I had surely lost hope before today, started to move away, but now a flame was reignited in my heart that hoped there is still the possibility that today’s verdict could lead in some way to peace and reconciliation.”

Amnesty International celebrated the victory, but says that the Thai government must repeal all criminal defamation laws that are used to silence human rights advocates.

Katherine Gerson, Amnesty International’s Thailand campaigner, said that “Unless followed by legislative and policy changes, however, this decision will do little to compensate for a system that allows for the targeting of human rights defenders who dare to stand up against companies involved in abusive practices.”

Join our campaign to see all charges against Andy Hall dropped.

Freedom United is interested in hearing from our community and welcomes relevant, informed comments, advice, and insights that advance the conversation around our campaigns and advocacy. We value inclusivity and respect within our community. To be approved, your comments should be civil.

stop icon A few things we do not tolerate: comments that promote discrimination, prejudice, racism, or xenophobia, as well as personal attacks or profanity. We screen submissions in order to create a space where the entire Freedom United community feels safe to express and exchange thoughtful opinions.

Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Yvonne Moloney
Yvonne Moloney
5 years ago

Wonderful news. Best wishes to you, Andy. You have shown integrity and courage in the face of exploitation of vulnerable people. Great result.

David A Knowles
David A Knowles
5 years ago

Fantastic news. Well done Andy it must have been a difficult journey. Thank you for standing up for the vulnerable.

This week

Four years on, has Australia's Modern Slavery Act been effective?

An independent review of Australia's Modern Slavery Act has concluded that the legislation is failing to have a significant impact on curbing modern slavery and urges the Australian government to implement recommendations to strengthen the law. The Australian government must act According to the latest Global Slavery Index released by international human rights organization Walk Free, an estimated 50 million people were in situations of modern slavery

| Wednesday May 31, 2023

Read more