Andy Hall has been trapped in a nightmare for the last two years. In 2013 a report, which includes his research, was published stating allegations of worker abuse and slavery-like practices in the factory of Natural Fruit, a Thai company that processes pineapples and supplies retailers around the world.
Instead of looking into the allegations, Natural Fruit targeted Andy. He was charged with computer crimes and criminal defamation. His trial starts this October and if found guilty he faces 7 years in prison and more than $11 million in damages. Following Walk free’s campaigning, Natural Fruit has already had one of their cases against Andy thrown out by the Thai courts.1
In Andy’s own words:
“This is about persecution. It’s a political case to try and silence me… I’m someone that’s revealing things that the government and the industry don’t want me to reveal.”2
Natural Fruit have shown no signs of giving up.
Sonja Vartiala, executive director of Finnwatch, the organisation that released the report Andy is being sued for, has warned that, “At this point, the prospects for Andy Hall to receive a fair trial are looking grim.”3
That’s why Walk Free have started a campaign calling on the Thai government to intervene and drop the charges against Andy. Show your support for Andy and migrant workers that remain vulnerable to modern slavery in Thailand here.
The Thai courts have dismissed one of the four charges against human rights activist Andy Hall — for the second time!4
Natural Fruit refused to admit defeat when their original case was first thrown out by judges last year and appealed the decision. They had accused Andy of criminal defamation after he gave an interview to Al Jazeera on the rights of migrant workers in a Natural Fruit factory. Natural Fruit’s attempt to silence Andy failed and now Andy will be fighting back. He plans to hit Natural Fruit with perjury charges for “false statements made in court”.5
Unfortunately this case is just one of four that Natural Fruit have filed against Andy. On 19 October Andy will start trial for criminal defamation and computer crime. This is his most serious charge and carries up to 7 years in jail.