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Thailand: Court accepts civil defamation lawsuit against labour rights activist filed by Natural Fruit

"Natural Fruit court cases against Andy Hall continue in Thailand," 17 Jul 2020

Despite the Supreme Court’s recent dismissal of a criminal case against Andy Hall concerning his role in researching a Finnwatch report, Cheap Has a High Price, Nakhon Pathom civil court accepted yesterday (13th July) a 300 million Baht ($10m) civil defamation prosecution against Hall filed by Natural Fruit back in 2013. Nakhon Pathom Court had previously postponed consideration of the case until a final verdict in the criminal defamation and computer crimes case was reached. Hall will stand trial in this new case on 27–29 October 2020.

The Supreme Court has already established that the allegations in the Finnwatch report were well-founded and in the public interest. It would be absurd to order Andy Hall to pay damages for speaking about the very same findings, said Sonja Finér, the executive director of Finnwatch.

In the other civil defamation case a decision on leave of appeal was today adjourned by Thailand’s Supreme Court also. This additional case relates to an interview Andy Hall gave to Al-Jazeera in Myanmar in 2013. During the interview, Hall talked about activism and his interviews with Natural Fruit’s abused migrant workers in Thailand for the Finnwatch report, Cheap Has a High Price...

The various prosecutions Natural Fruit Co Ltd has brought against Andy Hall have been widely criticised by the UN, the ILO, the European Parliament, civil society organisations and trade unions. Andy Hall left Thailand in 2016, making clear his intention not to return unless judicial harassment against him ceases. He continues to work on migrant worker’s rights across South East Asia.

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