Activist Andy Hall leaves Thailand

Activist Andy Hall leaves Thailand

British activist Andy Hall left Thailand on a midnight flight, but criticised the 'irrational, vindictive' atmosphere for human rights defenders. (EPA photo)
British activist Andy Hall left Thailand on a midnight flight, but criticised the 'irrational, vindictive' atmosphere for human rights defenders. (EPA photo)

British rights activist Andy Hall who is being sued by several companies for defamation left Thailand early Monday, saying he feared for his safety amidst legal problems and growing harassment from companies that have been "irrational, vindictive and aggressive".

Mr Hall, who had four criminal and civil courts lawsuits brought against him following a report he helped release accusing companies of labour and human rights violations in the pineapple processing industry in Thailand, breathed a sigh of relief last week after the Supreme Court rejected the attorney-general and Natural Fruit Co Ltd's appeal in a criminal defamation case.

Mr Hall said in his statement it was getting harder for him to do his job here.

He said the situation in defending migrant worker rights has rapidly deteriorated in Thailand, where hostility toward human rights defenders has grown.

"I have now finally decided to leave Thailand today [Monday] as planned, and with confidence that for now, this is the right decision for me and for MWRN," he said, referring to the Migrant Worker Rights Network in which he is an international affairs adviser.

He reportedly left Thailand aboard a flight for Paris.

Mr Hall said over the past 11 years, he has been a dedicated human rights defender and activist, with the aim of improving the living and working conditions of millions of exploited migrants in Thailand and to ensure they have full access to labour rights.

However, in the end, the challenges he has encountered with companies and institutions have been insurmountable.

In Sept 20, the Bangkok South Criminal Court sentenced Mr Hall to three years in prison and fined him 150,000 baht for defamation and computer crimes.

The contentious report, "Cheap Has a High Price", was published by the Finnish civil rights group Finnwatch.

The fine was paid to the Court by Thai Union Group, the Thai Tuna Industry Association and Finnwatch. Andy Hall was later released from temporary detention, his passport returned and restrictions on his freedom of movement removed.

The surprise guilty verdict drew stern criticism from around the world including the UN, the ILO, the European Parliament and European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom.


Do you like the content of this article?
COMMENT (14)
TRENDING

11 convicted of 2002 gang-rape in India go free

AHMEDABAD: Eleven Hindu men jailed for life for the gang-rape of a pregnant Muslim woman during Hindu-Muslim riots in 2002 have been freed on remission, officials said on Tuesday, drawing condemnation from the victim's husband, lawyers and politicians.

16 Aug 2022

Govt readies B150bn loan guarantee for oil fund

The cabinet on Tuesday approved a law to guarantee up to 150 billion baht (US$4.23 billion) in loans for the state oil fund to support energy prices as the government fights inflation, according to a government source and media reports.

16 Aug 2022

Two teachers jump off bridge, leave farewell letters behind in Trat

TRAT: Two women - a teacher and a retired teacher - jumped off a bridge into a canal in Muang district of this eastern province on Tuesday morning, with two farewell letters written to their children found inside a car they travelled in.

16 Aug 2022