ITF condemns Thai sentencing of British labour rights researcher

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) has condemned the sentencing of British labour rights researcher Andy Hall to three years’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, by the Bangkok Criminal Court on 20 September.

Mr Hall was sued by the Thai Company Natural Fruit on charges of defamation and computer crimes, over his claims about the company in a 2013 report by Finnwatch, a Finnish civil society organization. He alleged that the company was guilty of serious human rights and labour violations of migrant workers in its pineapple processing plant in Prachuap Khiri Khan province in Thailand.

ITF president Paddy Crumlin said: “This is a blatant case of blaming the messenger. Rather than victimising Andy, who has also exposed abuses in fisheries, the priority should be to investigate the serious allegations made against the Thai Natural Fruit Company.

“We condemn Thailand’s increasing victimisation of those who defend human rights. There have been 10 cases this year alone, including Andy Hall, Somchai Homalaor, Pornpen Khongkachonkiet, Anchana Heemmina and Sirikan Charoensiri.

“The laws under which he was convicted are questionable laws, being questionably used. The ITF is also concerned by the recent announcements of possible new prosecutions against Mr Hall and the Migrant Workers Rights Network (MWRN)." 

The ITF will be signing a protest letter to the Thai government from the Thai Seafood Working Group, a network of labour rights organisations. The ITF also cited Mr Hall’s case in its complaint to the International Labour Organization against the Thai government, in which it expressed concern about the widespread use of criminal defamation laws to silence dissent in the country.

 

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