TINNED PINEAPPLE MAN MAY OPEN CAN OF WORMS!
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 3, 2013
On 22nd February 2013, British migrant and labour rights activist Mr Andy Hall was informed that civil and criminal lawsuits had been filed against him, based on a complaint filed by a Thai fruit processor, Natural Fruit Company Ltd., based in Prachuapkirikhan Province, Thailand.
In the civil case filed against him, Andy Hall is accused of defaming and damaging Natural Fruit Company Ltd.’s reputation by “broadcasting false statements to public media” following the publication of a report to which he contributed. If convicted, he faces a fine of 300 million Baht (approx €7.7 million).
In addition, a criminal lawsuit was also lodged against Andy Hall on the charge of broadcasting false statements, also based on a complaint filed by the Natural Fruit Company Ltd. If found guilty under these charges, he could be imprisoned for a maximum of 7 years per count, with an additional fine of 200,000 Baht (approx €5,100).
The legal action follows a report in January 2013 entitled “Cheap has a high price: Responsibility problems relating to international private label products and food production in Thailand,” which he contributed to for Finnish rights watchdog Finnwatch.
Based on testimony taken in November 2012 from employees working in various departments of Natural Fruit Company Ltd.’s Pranburi plant in Prachuapkirikhan Province, the report states that Natural Fruit was committing serious labour and human rights violations against its workers, in particular against migrant and irregular workers, as well as other reportedly illegal activities.
Despite being approached by Finnwatch and Andy Hall on numerous occasions, the Natural Fruit Company Ltd. did not agree to meet with the researchers or clarify the research findings.
BWI and UNI Apro believe this legal action to be an attempt to silence yet another human rights defender in Thailand who, peacefully and legitimately, exercised the right to freedom of opinion and expression in order to defend and promote migrant rights.
BWI and UNI demand:
(1) Natural Fruit Company Limited should immediately drop malicious and aggressive civil and criminal law suits against Mr Hall.
(2) The Thai government should ensure an urgent 3rd party audit takes place at Natural Fruit premises and premises of the other factories under the Natground umbrella.
You can help! Type in your name and email address, then click on ‘Send Message’ on the bottom of this page.