Credit - Prachatai

Supreme Court Dismissed the Case of “Andy Hall”
for Defamation of a Thai Factory

4 November 2016


The Supreme Court dismissed the case of Andy Hall, a British migrant worker rights activist, as per the indictment of Natural Fruit Co., Ltd. Mr. Hall stated that his lawyer suggested that there may be a false accusation and that he prepared to file a counterclaim.

The Supreme Court dismissed Andy Hall, a British migrant worker rights activist, who was filed an appeal charge of defamation by Natural Fruit Co., Ltd. after he gave an interview with Al Jazeera News Agency in Myanmar in April 2013 regarding the research on the violation of migrant rights of many companies in Thailand.

The case had previously been dismissed by the Court of First Instance (Phra Khanong District Court) and the Court of Appeal due to the deficiency in the investigation process, which is contrary to the Criminal Procedure Code. In addition, such offense is not considered an offense committed outside the Kingdom which is liable to the punishments in the Kingdom.





Andy Hall said that he found the proceedings illegal at first. His lawyer suggested that the case may contain false accusations, false testimonies, misconduct or omission by the government officials. He requested his legal team to file a lawsuit against Natural Fruit Company, the Attorney General, the prosecutors of Phra Khanong District Court, the police officers at Bang Na Police Station and some witnesses of the plaintiff. However, he was sorry for filing the counterclaim because the company refused to dismiss the case and is still finding a way to threaten him. Mr. Hall also said that the government should be held responsible for this unlawful litigation.


Last September, Mr. Hall was sentenced to criminal punishments for defamation as per the lawsuit filed by Natural Fruit Company claiming that Mr. Hall, who is a researcher, published the report on “cheap has a high price” in the Finnwatch civil society in 2013 exposing the violation of migrant worker rights in many food manufacturing factories in Thailand, one of which was Natural Fruit Company Limited. Mr. Hall was sentenced to a fine of 200,000 baht and to a term of imprisonment of 4 years. However, the court reduced the penalty to a term of imprisonment of 3 years and a fine of 150,000 baht because the defendant provided beneficial testimony to the court, and finally the court sentenced probation for Mr. Hall, as he is an activist who makes good contribution to the society.


Sonja Vartiala, Executive Director of Finnwatch Organization, stated that although she was relieved by the judgement, the judgement did not dismiss allegations and probation filed last September. Mr. Hall has been threatened by the court proceedings for more than 4 years, and such case will affect not only Mr. Hall but also migrant workers and labor rights activists who are afraid after exposing the violation of labor rights to the public.


Recently, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Southeast Asia, issued a statement of appreciation to the Supreme Court of Thailand for dismissing the case, as well as urging the Thai authority to stop the prosecution of human rights defenders who have been prosecuted for a criminal case after they exposed the violation of human rights in all cases.


Amnesty International has been following up the case and urging the Thai authority to dismiss the case of Andy Hall, as well as calling on the Thai government to create an environment that encourages people to express their opinions peacefully and protect human rights without the fear of threat, intimidation or counterattack and to amend the Criminal Code by deleting the criminal penalties for defamation.




News source from Voice TV