27th October 2014 MEDIA BRIEFING: ANDY HALL/FINNWATCH REPORT NATURAL FRUIT CRIMINAL TRIAL VERDICT 29th OCT 2014

27th October 2014

MEDIA BRIEFING: ANDY HALL/FINNWATCH REPORT NATURAL FRUIT CRIMINAL TRIAL VERDICT 29th OCT 2014
Finnwatch researcher Andy Hall will arrive at Prakanong Court in Bangkok on Wednesday 29th Oct. at 830am, accompanied by his legal team and supporters, to hear the verdict in the first Natural Fruit Company Ltd. criminal prosecution case against him. The presiding judges have summoned Hall to listen to the public reading of the case verdict at 9am.

Information and a press release about the case verdict will be promptly available on Wednesday on Finnwatch’s website (http://www.finnwatch.org/en) as soon as the court hearing is over. Andy Hall will tweet on the verdict at @atomicalandy also. A Q&A sheet about the cases and the first trial and upcoming verdict is attached.

The Natural Fruit vs. Andy Hall prosecutions relate to a Finnwatch report that was published in January 2013. Based on worker testimonies, the report alleged serious human rights violations in Natural Fruit Company Ltd’s pineapple factory in Prachuap Khiri Khan Province in Southern Thailand.
Natural Fruit reacted to the report by pressing criminal and civil charges only against researcher Andy Hall, who worked for Finnwatch as an independently contracted research coordinator.

Wednesday’s verdict relates to the first criminal defamation case prosecuted by Natural Fruit against Andy Hall that was heard in a trial held from 2nd to 10th September 2014 at Prakanong Court, Bangkok and dealt with an interview Andy Hall gave to Aljazeera regarding criminal and civil prosecutions Natural Fruit launched against him.
The trial for a second civil defamation case starts on 30th October, Hall’s 35th birthday.

Natural Fruit has filed together four criminal and civil charges against Hall. Charges concern criminal and civil defamation claims and crimes under the Computer Crime Act.
Important dates for all of the Natural Fruit cases are:

(1)   29th Oct 9am Prakanong Court – final verdict in Aljazeera interview criminal defamation trial (penalty if found guilty max. 1 year imprisonment)

(2)   30th Oct 9am Nakhon Pathom Court Civil Court – 1st hearing in US$10m civil defamation case

(3)   17th Nov 130pm Southern Bangkok Criminal Court – 1st pre-hearing in computer crimes act and criminal defamation by publication trial (penalty if found guilty of both charges max. 7 years imprisonment)

(4)   TBC – Prakanong Court 1st hearing in US$4m Aljazeera interview civil defamation case
On 29th Oct there will be a global day of action in support of Andy Hall and demonstrations will be organized in four countries. More information about the events:

– Helsinki, Finland, 9 a.m. Contact: Sonja Vartiala, sonja.vartiala@finnwatch.org, Event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1549376001960080/
– The Hague, Netherlands, 10 a.m. Contact: Wendy Schutte, Wendy.Schutte@fairfood.org
– London, United Kingdom, 4:30 p.m. Contact: Owen Tudor, OTudor@tuc.org.uk, Event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/545374012263029/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming
– Washington, DC, USA, 4:30 p.m. Contact: Abby McGill, abby@ilrf.org, Event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/577748169019525/
Hall was last week denied permission to travel to Myanmar for work related meetings by the Prakanong Court because of the pending criminal case verdict hearing.
As a result of the criminal prosecutions against him, an immigration block has remained in place for 6 months to prevent Hall’s departure from Thailand, unless authorised by the Court, although at the request of the UK Embassy, his passport previously confiscated by the Court was returned to him on 10th September 2014.
Additional information and background to the cases can be found on Finnwatch’s website http://www.finnwatch.org/en and Andy Hall’s blog www.andyjhall.wordpress.com


For more information on Wednesday’s trial verdict, please contact: 

  1. Sonja Vartiala, Executive Director, Finnwatch: +358(0)445687465sonja.vartiala@finnwatch.org
  2. Andy Hall, Migration Researcher: +66(0)846119209andyjhall1979@gmail.com, twitter @atomicalandy
  3. Nakhon Chomphuchart, Legal Advisor to Andy Hall: +66(0)818473086nakhonct@gmail.com
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