Thailand: Drop the charges against Andy Hall
UNI Global Union joins trade unions and rights groups from around the world in calling on the Thai pineapple industry to drop all charges against British activist Andy Hall.
Hall, who exposed modern day slavery in Thailand’s canned fruit industry, faces a defamation case, 7 years imprisonment and $10 million in damages from lawsuits brought by Thai pineapple company Natural Fruit.
According to LabourStart, which has launched a campaign in support of Hall, the campaigner discovered serious rights abuses at a Natural Fruit factory including child labour, illegally low wages and violence against workers.
UNI Global Union General Secretary Philip Jennings said, “We are extremely concerned for the wellbeing of Andy Hall, who has only acted to protect innocent people in the face of extreme exploitation.”
“We call on the Thai fruit industry to enter into a process of dialogue and engagement on this matter rather than victimizing Andy. As the world’s largest pineapple producer, all eyes are on Thailand to prove its products are responsibly sourced.”
A group of major European companies has voiced its own alarm at Hall’s treatment. United Nordic, an alliance of food companies from northern Europe, has written to the Thai Food Processors Association saying, "We are greatly worried and concerned about this negative development."
Hall made the allegations in a report last year for Finnish rights watchdog Finnwatch and is due in court in Bangkok on September 2 on a defamation charge linked to an interview he gave to the Al-Jazeera television network about the case.
According to AFP, the activist's passport has been confiscated by Thailand, which is now under military rule, pending his trial.
If convicted in the first trial he could face one year in prison. More serious charges under the computer crime act -- which carries up to seven years in jail for each count -- are due to be heard later in September, AFP says.