Thailand: Another human rights activist is unjustly targeted

Reacting to the Bangkok South Criminal Court’s guilty verdict against Andy Hall, a British migrant rights worker, Amnesty International said:

“Today’s verdict is an appalling end to a trial that never should have started. Thailand needs to take seriously its obligation to protect human rights activists rather than allowing its legal system to be hijacked by companies seeking to silence those exposing abusive practices,” said Champa Patel, Amnesty International’s Senior Research Adviser for South East Asia and the Pacific.

Today’s verdict is an appalling end to a trial that never should have started
Champa Patel, Amnesty International's Senior Research Adviser for South East Asia and the Pacific

 

“Sadly, the case against Andy Hall is just the one of many in which human rights defenders face criminal defamation charges for their crucial work supporting vulnerable individuals and communities. Criminal defamation provisions are being used to silence people who do a public service by uncovering injustice. Thailand’s authorities need to take a hard look at the ways in which the legal system often undermines justice instead of promoting it.”

Background

Andy Hall was found guilty by the Bangkok South Criminal Court today for criminal defamation charges brought against him by the Natural Fruit Company Ltd. The company was the subject of a 2013 report that Andy Hall worked on for the civil society group Finnwatch while researching abuses against migrant workers in Thailand.

Andy Hall was fined 150 000 Baht and received a three-year sentence. His sentence was suspended for two years, and he will not serve time in prison unless he breaks the terms of his probation.