Andy Hall Arrested in Thailand For Exposing Appalling Migrant Worker Conditions at Natural Fruit

THE NATION – British migrant rights activist Andy Hall was formally detained following his fight for better work conditions for migrant workers in Thailand.

The Office of the Attorney-General has decided to prosecute him according to the defamation charges filed by Natural Fruit, the employer of migrant workers interviewed by the activist. The office accepted the case on ground that Hall of Finnwatch, in his interview with al-Jazeera TV station, admitted that his report could cause damage in Thailand.

Hall pleaded not guilty to all charges. After turning himself in on Wednesday, he was released on bail.

“Finnwatch is very disappointed about the court’s decision to accept the case. Such criminal charges are judicial harassment against a human rights defender,” the NGO’s executive director Sonja Vartiala said.

“Hall told us he will voluntary take part in all judicial processes. He has done nothing wrong and hopes his case will shed only further light on systematic migrant rights abuses in Thailand”, said Vartiala.

Hall conducted interviews with migrants from Myanmar working in the pineapple and tuna export industry to help Finnwatch compile a report entitled “Cheap Has a High Price”. The report, released in January 2013 and updated in January 2014, outlined the particularly poor labour conditions in Natural Fruit’s factory, selling pineapple concentrate to Finnish supermarkets.

Natural Fruit, located in Prachuap Khiri Khan, began a series of civil and criminal prosecutions against Andy Hall in February 2013.

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