Thailand: Natural Fruit launches fresh defamation charges against Andy Hall

Thailand’s Natural Fruit Company has filed more criminal defamation charges against British human rights campaigner Andy Hall, in relation to a recent Youtube video posted by NGO Finnwatch.

The video, published on Sep. 18, features comments about the Thai company’s labor practices and features Andy Hall, Natural Fruit workers, European Union parliamentarians and Finnish retailer SOK.

The fresh charges add to a US$10 million libel case against the 33-year-old lawyer, who in April was accused of “broadcasting false statements to public media”.

Hall was advised of the charges, which were made at Bang Na Police Station, through a notification by the Vice Consul at the British Embassy in Bangkok on Sep. 27.

“I would advise you, as we would for all British Nationals involved in legal proceedings to seek an update from your lawyer in Thailand. They will be able to update and advise you on the status of your case and if there are any potential implications in entering Thailand,” the notification said.

“Please note that we are unable to provide you with any legal advice on this matter. However, if you do not yet have a lawyer engaged, the British Embassy maintains annually a list of English speaking lawyers and translators/interpreters in Thailand for your information. Please read the notice and information carefully.”

A source close to Hall said as the court had not yet accepted the prior cases, he was therefore not legally obliged to attend the court and respond to hearings, speculating that the recent charges were likely a measure intended to locate the activist and start proceedings, perhaps through an arrest warrant.

The source said Hall would “proceed to Bang Na police station to receive formal notification of the charges against him and provide the required statements to police officers”.