Latest modern slavery fight updates - FreedomUnited.org

Thai Court Fines Andy Hall $321,000 for Defamation

  • Published on
    March 26, 2018
  • News Source Image
  • Category:
    Anti-Slavery Activists, Forced Labor, Human Trafficking, Law & Policy, Supply Chain
Hero Banner

A Thai court in Bangkok has ordered labor rights activist Andy Hall to pay 10 million baht ($321,000) in damages for defamation.

Hall had helped expose labor abuses committed against Myanmar migrant workers at factories operated by pineapple canning company Natural Fruit. Natural Fruit retaliated by filing four defamation suits against Hall.

The Washington Post reports:

Hall’s legal troubles stem from a 2013 report he researched for the Finnish consumer organization Finnwatch that alleged labor abuses at Natural Fruit’s facilities. They also concern an interview that he gave to Al-Jazeera on the subject, which was the focus of Monday’s ruling. Natural Fruit claimed that the report Hall helped research and his interview comments both hurt their business.

Hall has prevailed in one of the two criminal defamation suits against him, while the other is pending, as is another civil suit. He has also filed a countersuit against Natural Fruit.

Hall left Thailand in 2016, citing intolerable legal harassment after another company, poultry producer Thammakaset Farm, sued him in another case, but still works on labor rights issues concerning migrants in Thailand.

After the verdict was issued, Hall expressed his disappointment on Twitter. “This verdict is a major setback for rights of human rights defenders, migrant workers, labour/migration activists and researchers everywhere and casts a dark shadow over recent positive progress the Thai government and Thai industry has made to improve migrant worker conditions.”

Thailand has been the subject of international scrutiny after major media investigations uncovered widespread human trafficking and forced labor in the country’s seafood industry. Notably, Hall had also worked with several fishing and seafood companies in Thailand to improve labor conditions for migrant workers.

Observers say Hall’s case is being closely watched by companies that source from Thailand and human rights activists.

Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director for Human Rights Watch, explained that defamation is being used as a tool by companies to silence criticism.

“When problems in their supply chain are brought to light, companies like Natural Fruit or Thammakaset Farm can so easily sue and ruin the life of an activist to try to keep them silent. It has a chilling effect on this type of research. It has a chilling effect on the freedom of expression in Thailand,” he said.

Subscribe

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.

Notify of
guest
11 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Paul Richards
6 years ago

Mr Hall is to be applauded for fighting against thr low life perpetrators of slavery in Thailand.This man deserves a medal.

ADRIAN PAUL
ADRIAN PAUL
6 years ago

If the Court is also corrupt and will not listen to evidence against these companies, then the Judges should be forced to stand-down

Tasi
Tasi
6 years ago

I saw the exploitation of Burmese with my own eyes in a resort in Koh Phangan..There is no freedom of speech in Thailand..I lived and work there I know this very well

Gabriele Meloni
Gabriele Meloni
6 years ago

How can we incentivate people not to buy “Natural Fruit” product? Is anywhere a map of their distribution network?

pascal molineaux
6 years ago

The courts wrongly accused Hall of wrongdoing, when those who behaved criminally are the businesses denounces by Hall’s investigative work. His revelación of mistreatment of migrant workers is one that SHOULD lead to the indictment of those found guilty, not the human rights worker denouncing such egregious behavior. This decision to punish Hall is fundamentally immoral and unfair.

This week

Rounded up and abandoned: Europe’s covert support of migrant atrocities

It is well documented that inhumane immigration policies are forcing migrants to take extremely risky routes on their journey to seek asylum in Europe and globally. However, a year-long investigation by the Washington Post, Lighthouse Reports, and a consortium of international media outlets uncovered that migrant lives are not just at risk due to sketchy channel crossings and being packed in the back of refrigerator trucks. To dissuade sub-Saharan

| Wednesday May 22, 2024

Read more