Reacting to the Bangkok South Criminal Court’s decision to overturn its conviction of Andy Hall, a British migrant rights worker found guilty of criminal defamation in September 2016 for his work on a report into the abuse of migrant workers’ rights in Thailand, Katherine Gerson, Amnesty International’s Campaigner on Thailand, said:
“This successful appeal is very welcome, and it underlines how the original conviction against Andy Hall was an abuse of justice that should never have been allowed.
“Unless followed by legislative and policy changes, however, this decision will do little to compensate for a system that allows for the targeting of human rights activists who dare to stand up against companies involved in abusive practices.
“The Thai government must work to repeal all criminal defamation laws and take measures to protect both the rights of migrant workers and the freedom of expression of those who are defending their rights.”
Andy Hall was found guilty by the Bangkok South Criminal Court in 2016 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 of migrant workers’ rights in Thailand.
Andy Hall was fined 150 000 Baht and received a three-year sentence. His sentence was suspended for two years.