BANGKOK – Andy Hall a prominent British human rights activist who has worked with Aung San Suu Kyi is facing two years in prison and a multi-million pound fine, after co-authoring a report that slammed a Thai company for its alleged use of Burmese child labour in one of its factories.
Andy, who has worked with the Burmese Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, has been charged with broadcasting false statements under Thailand’s Computer Crime Act, a charge that carries a maximum jail term of two years.
Mr Hall, from Lincolnshire, has also been charged with defaming and damaging the National Fruit Company by broadcasting false statements to public media. Defamation is a criminal offence in Thailand and if convicted, he faces a fine of up to £6.6 million.
Last May, Mr Hall organized Ms Suu Kyi’s visit to Mahachai, a fishing port south of Bangkok that is home to 250,000 of the estimated two million Burmese migrant workers in Thailand.
In his report for a Finnish organization, Mr Hall alleged that a pineapple canning factory run by the National Fruit Company employed Burmese children as young as 14, failed to pay the Thai minimum wage, confiscated travel documents and forced people to work 20-hour days.
He said he believed the charges were politically motivated. “There have been official attempts to silence me, and this court case is the last stage of harassment,” he said. “I think it’s ridiculous to bring a court case against someone like me. It sends a very negative message to the outside world.”