Thai pineapple company sues UK migrant worker rights defender for US $10 million

Thai pineapple company sues UK migrant worker rights defender for US $10 million

Andy Hall won first case, but now faces $10 million lawsuit & 7 years in jail, accused of defamation by Thai pineapple company, at time when Thai companies under attack for migrant labour abuse in US & EU.

Andy Hall won the first case against him for defending migrant worker rights, but now being sued for $10 million & faces 7 years in jail on defamation charges by Thai pineapple company.

MIGRANT RIGHTS

Court indicts previously acquitted British activist

24/08/2015
AFP News agency & Post Reporters

British activist Andy Hall (R) receives flowers from his supporters as he arrives at a court in Bangkok on October 29, 2014

Andy Hall, 34, produced a 2013 report centred on working conditions at a company named Natural Fruit factory in southern Thailand levelling accusations of forced labour and child labour, unlawfully low wages and long hours.

Titled "Cheap Has a High Price" and published by the Finnish civil rights group Finnwatch, the report intensified the scrutiny of Thailand's food industry which has faced years of allegations of mistreatment of its mainly migrant labour force. (Read full report for free here).

Natural Fruit is a major supplier to the European drink market producing pineapple juice concentrate which the company has supplied to Finnish retailers SOK and Kesko as well as private label juices. The owner of Natural Fruit Wirat Piyapornpaiboon is the elder brother of the former labour minister and general secretary of the Democratic Party Chalermchai Sri-On. Natural Fruit is a powerful company in Thailand's pineapple industry as the owner is the President of the Thai Pineapple Industry Association (TPIA) (Source: Finnwatch here)

Natural Fruit has denied the allegations in the report and launched an attack against Mr. Hall with several court cases, including a civil case seeking US$10 million in damages.

ALREADY ACQUITTED ONCE

Mr. Hall was acquitted by a court last year on a defamation charge pursued by the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) and the attorney general is appealing last year's acquittal adding to Mr. Hall's legal woes.

Natural Fruit has now filed a string of its own criminal and civil cases against Mr Hall, the most serious of which was accepted on Monday.

The Southern Criminal Court has agreed to hear the case against Andy Hall for defamation and violation of the Computer Crimes Act.

Mr Hall has been ordered to appear in court on Oct 19 for a plea hearing, with the court expected to decide today whether he gets bail.

Mr. Hall faces up to seven years in prison if convicted.

DEFAMATION LAWS STIFLE INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM

Mr Hall stands by his research and has accused the company of trying to detract from the report's damning findings through legal action.

Both Thailand's criminal defamation and computer misuse laws have been criticised by rights groups for their broad wording and the ease with which they can be used to stifle investigative work.

In a statement Finnwatch executive director Sonja Vartiala described the court case as "a saga of intimidation already lasting 30 months aimed at nothing but gagging a human rights defender".

LEGAL ACTION IN US & EU AGAINST THAI COMPANIES

Thailand's food industry is a key supplier to Western supermarkets and has increasingly been subject to scrutiny and sometimes legal action in Western countries that import Thai goods. 

Thailand has long turned to migrants from poorer neighbours Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos to help keep major industries afloat, from fishing to seafood to food processing to construction.

Last week, a US subsidiary of the major Thai conglomerate CP Group was sued in a class action lawsuit in California against leading US retailer CostCo, which imports CP Group's fish, under a new 2010 California law acting against slave labour in the supply chain of goods exported to the US. (Read full story here)

The European Union this year threatened to place Thailand under an export ban unless more was done to tackle labour abuses.

Last month, the US maintained Thailand's low ranking in its annual ranking for countries accused of turning a blind eye to human trafficking.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/asia/667128/court-indicts-previously-acquitted-british-activist

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Vocabulary

  • abuse (noun): cruel, violent or unfair treatment, especially of someone who does not have the power to prevent it - การข่มเหง, การปฏิบัติไม่ดีต่อ
  • accusation: a statement that someone has done something wrong or illegal even though this has not been proved - ข้อกล่าวหา
  • accuse: to say that someone has done something wrong or committed a crime - กล่าวหา
  • accused: to be said to have done something wrong or committed a crime - ถูกกล่าวหา
  • allegations (noun): accusations - ข้อกล่าวหา
  • annual: happening every year - ทุกๆปีด, ประจำปี
  • appeal: a request to a court to change a decision by a lower court - อุทธรณ์
  • Attorney General (noun): the top legal officer in some countries, who advises the leader of the government - อัยการสูงสุด
  • author (noun): a person who writes a book or article - ผู้เขียน, นักเขียน
  • bail: money that is given to a court when someone is allowed to stay out of prison until their trial. If they do not return for the trial, the court keeps the money  - เงินประกัน; การประกันตัว
  • ban: officially not allowed to do something - การห้ามอย่างเป็นทางการ
  • broad: general; not detailed - ทั่วๆ ไป, กว้าง, ไม่จำกัด
  • case: a matter that is being officially investigated or heard by a court - คดี
  • charge : an official statement accusing someone of committing a crime - ข้อกล่าวหา
  • civil: of a case filed a court that deals with non-criminal matters, especially complaints made by people against other people or organisations - คดีที่ยื่นฟ้องต่อศาลแพ่ง
  • civil rights: the basic rights that all people in a society should have, for example the right to be treated fairly by the law, the right to express their ideas, and the right to practise their religion - สิทธิของพลเมือง
  • class action lawsuit: a type of court case that is started by a group of people who have the same problem - การฟ้องคดีในนามกลุ่มบุคคล
  • co-: done together with another -
  • concentrate: a form of juice with less water in it, stronger because water or other substances have been removed จัด, เข้มข้น -
  • conglomerate: a large company formed by joining together different firms - กลุ่มบริษัทในเครือ
  • convicted: having been proven guilty of a crime by a court of law - ต้องโทษ, ได้รับการพิสูจน์ว่าข้อกล่าวหามีความผิดจริง
  • criminal: relating to illegal acts - เกี่ยวกับอาชญากรรม
  • Criminal Court: a court which hears criminal cases, i.e., cases where people are accused of breaking a law and where punishment involves going to jail. - ศาลอาญา
  • criticised: receiving words of disapproval over something that you have supposedly done wrong - ถูกวิจารณ์, โดนว่า
  • damages: money that a court awards to a person who sued another person for causing injury to them -
  • damning (adj): critical of somebody/something; suggesting that somebody is guilty - ซึ่งเป็นเครื่องพิสูจน์ความผิด
  • defamation: the offence of writing or saying something bad about someone that is not true and makes people have a bad opinion of them - การใส่ร้าย
  • defender: a person who defends and believes in protecting something - ผู้ป้องกัน,ผู้ปกป้อง,ผู้พิทักษ์
  • denied (verb): said that something is not true or did not happen - ปฏิเสธ
  • detract from: to make something seem less valuable or less deserving of admiration than it really is or was thought to be - ทำให้ลดลง (คุณค่า, ความสำคัญ, ผลกระทบ)
  • ease (noun): lack of difficulty - ความง่ายดายในการทำสิ่งต่างๆ
  • export (noun): something sold and transported to another country - สินค้าออก
  • export: to sell and/or send goods to another country - ส่งออก
  • finding (noun): results, what people "find" or discover by doing some research or activity - ผลของการสืบค้น, ผลของการค้นหา
  • forced: making someone do something that they don't want to do - บังคับ
  • gag: to prevent someone from speaking or saying something -
  • human rights: the basic rights which it is generally considered all people should have, such as justice and the freedom to say what you think - สิทธิมนุษยชน
  • import: to buy or bring in products from another country - นำเข้า
  • indict (verb): to officially accuse someone of a serious crime - ฟ้องร้อง
  • intensify: to strengthen - เข้มข้นขึ้น
  • investigative: involving the process of trying to find out all the details or facts about something in order to discover who or what caused it or how it happened - เกี่ยวกับการสืบสวน, เกี่ยวกับการตรวจสอบหาความจริง
  • keep afloat: to cause a business to continue to exist คงอยู่ -
  • key: very important - ที่สำคัญ
  • labour: work, especially hard physical work - งานที่ใช้พละกำลัง
  • labour force: all the people who work for a particular company, organization, etc. - แรงงาน, คนทำงาน
  • launch: starting something - การเริ่มต้น
  • leading (adjective): among the first and most important in a group - ชั้นหนึ่ง, ชั้นแนวหน้า, ชั้นนำ
  • levelling: making an accusation - สร้าง (ข้อกล่าวหา)
  • linked: connected - เชื่อมต่อ เชื่อมโยง
  • major: very large or important - สำคัญมาก
  • migrant: someone who travels to another place or country in order to find work (an immigrant is someone who comes to live in a country from another country) - ผู้อพยพ, คนงานต่างถิ่น
  • migrant labour: someone who travels to another place or country in order to find work - คนงานต่างถิ่น
  • mistreatment: to treat or deal with people in a wrong and abusive way, by hurting them or killing them -
  • misuse (verb): to use something in an unsuitable way or in a way that was not intended - ใช้ในทางที่ผิด
  • neighbour: someone (or towns, cities, countries) who lives or is located near you - เพื่อนบ้าน
  • plea: a statement made by somebody or for somebody who is accused of a crime - คำให้การแก้ฟ้อง
  • prison: a place where criminals are put to stay for a period of time as punishment for a crime - คุก, ,เรือนจำ
  • publish: to make something available to the public through books, magazines, the Internet, etc. - เผยแพร่, จัดพิมพ์
  • pursue: to work at something or carry it out - ทำให้ลุล่วง
  • ranking: the position of somebody/something on a scale that shows how good or important they are in relation to other similar people or things, especially in sport - อันดับ
  • research: a careful study of a subject, especially in order to discover new facts or information about it - การวิจัย
  • retailer: a person or company that sells goods directly to the public for their own use - ผู้ขายปลีก
  • right: something that you are morally or legally allowed to do or have - สิทธิ
  • rights: the legal right to control the production and selling of a book, play, film, photograph, piece of music, performance, etc. - ลิขสิทธิ์
  • scrutiny: careful and thorough examination - การตรวจสอบอย่างละเอียด
  • stifle: to stop something from developing normally; to make something difficult for someone - ระงับ
  • subject to: affected by - ภายใต้บังคับ (กฎหมาย)
  • subsidiary: (of a business company) owned or controlled by another company - บริษัทในเครือ
  • sued: legal action taken against a person or organisation, especially by making a legal claim for money because of some harm that they have caused you - ฟ้องร้อง
  • supplier: a person or company that supplies goods - ผู้จัดหาสิ่งของให้, ผู้ผลิตสินค้าและวัตถุดิบ
  • supply chain (noun): the series of processes involved in supplying a product to someone, including the companies that manufacture all the parts going into a product - โซ่อุปทาน, สายโซ่อาหาร, ห่วงโซ่อุปทาน
  • tackle: to make an organised and determined attempt to deal with a problem - จัดการกับปัญหา
  • unlawful: against the law - ไม่ชอบด้วยกฎหมาย, ผิดกฎหมาย
  • wage: an amount of money that you earn for working, usually according to how many hours or days you work each week or month - ค่าจ้าง
  • Western: countries such as the US, Europe and Australia -
  • woes: great problems or troubles - ความเสียใจ, ความทุกข์ร้อน
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