Thai court clear Finnwatch human rights researcher of all charges

Thailand’s Supreme Court has cleared Andy Hall, Finnwatch human rights researcher of all charges, bringing an end to a years-long lawsuit against him, media YLE reports.

Andrew Jonathan Hall or just Andy Hall is a migrant worker and labor rights activist and researcher, formerly based in South East Asia. In early 2013 he was sued by Natural Fruit Company following the publication of the Finnish civil organization Finnwatch’s report “Cheap Has a High Price”.

Natural Fruit supplied in 2012 pineapple juice raw materials to Finnish retail chains and the report from 2013 revealed serious human rights violations at the company’s plant in Thailand.

In 2016, Andy Hall was found guilty of criminal defamation and computer crimes and faced a EUR 4300 fine along with a four-year prison sentence. But last year Thailand’s Supreme Court dismissed the four-year suspended sentence. The final case against Andy Hall was a separate defamation charge over an interview he did with media Al Jazeera in 2013. The Supreme court however overturned a lower court’s ruling that Andy Hall should pay 10 million baht in compensation charges and dismissed the case. The Supreme court ruled that his interview was justified.

In a statement, Finnwatch Executive Director Sonja Finér said, “We are pleased that all charges against Hall have now been dropped and we can leave this eight-year legal harassment behind us,”

“Thailand should ensure that its legislation is amended so that similar harassment through the courts is no longer possible,” Sonja Finér added.

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