Andy Hall, a British human rights activist, was convicted of criminal defamation and violations of the Computer Crimes Act in Thai court on September 20, 2016. Andy participated in research that documented serious human rights violations in a factory owned by Thai pineapple export company Natural Fruit. Abusive conditions included child labor, confiscation of identity document such as passports and working permits, harassment, and physical abuse.
Rather than fix the problems, Natural Fruit decided to initiate a years-long campaign of judicial harassment. The Thai government chose to prosecute Andy as well, and has sentenced him to a three year suspended sentence and a fine of 150,000 Thai baht.
This is not an isolated incident. Natural Fruit is still pursuing legal action against Andy. He now has an unjustified criminal record that, if allowed to stand, will impact his ability to work and travel freely the rest of his life. And beyond that, this conviction sets a precedent that may have a chilling effect on free expression throughout Thailand and across the world.
Please join an international movement to demand that the Thai Government overturn the conviction of Andy Hall and end its judicial harassment of an outspoken human rights defender.
Sign our petition to send a message to the Thai government to stand in solidarity with Andy Hall and the workers who spoke out against exploitation at Natural Fruit.
To: Members of the Thai Government
We are extremely disappointed that, after nearly four years of proceedings, the Bangkok South Criminal Court delivered a guilty verdict in the case against Andy Hall. This verdict must be overturned to preserve freedom of expression in Thailand, and to protect human rights defenders. To assure civil society, governments, and the private sector that Thailand is genuinely committed to protecting the rights of migrant workers, we urge you to exercise your constitutional authority to right this injustice, decriminalize defamation, and amend the Computer Crime Act to explicitly prohibit its use against independent human rights researchers, journalists, and advocates.
We also call on the Thai government to urge Natural Fruit to investigate their supply chains instead of targeting activists. There are unnumberred workers suffering in Natural Fruit factories whose rights need to be protected.
We are hopeful that you will hear Andy's forthcoming appeals and overturn this guilty verdict to ensure true justice is carried out. The work of Andy Hall and other human rights advocates is essential to improving the lives of migrant workers in Thailand and their service to the Thai government and the ASEAN community should be commended, not criminalized.