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21 Sep 2016

Mike Ives, New York Times

Thai Court Finds British Labor Activist Guilty of Defamation

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20 Sept 2016

A Thai court...found a British labor activist guilty of defamation and computer crimes, a verdict that some experts and rights advocates predicted would harm efforts to protect migrant workers in Southeast Asia.

The activist, Andy Hall, was sentenced to three years in prison and fined about $4,300 in connection with his work on a 2013 report by a Finnish advocacy group that accused Natural Fruit, based in Thailand, of violating its workers’ rights.

But the court suspended the sentence for two years. That means Mr. Hall is effectively on probation and will go free if he commits no crimes during that time, said Sonja Vartiala, executive director of the advocacy group, Finnwatch.

Human rights advocates said Tuesday that the case would impede efforts to investigate corporate supply chains in Thailand. Rights groups and Western governments have accused Thailand of failing to prevent widespread abuses of migrant workers, including forced labor...