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British activist cleared in Thailand pineapple defamation case

Rights activist Andy Hall faced almost a decade of lawsuits after raising concerns about labor conditions at a Thai pineapple company. Yesterday, Hall received a court decision clearing him in the final case against him.

Originally, Hall faced a series of defamation charges after contributing to a 2012 report on allegedly poor working conditions, low wages, and child labor at Natural Fruit’s factory. In 2016, he was found guilty of criminal defamation and given a suspended three-year prison sentence before the conviction was overturned in June last year. The company later launched a 300-million-baht ($9.6 million) civil defamation case but dropped the case before it went to trial last year.

On Tuesday, Hall was informed of the Thai Supreme Court’s verdict in the final case, over separate civil defamation charges relating to a 2013 interview he gave to the news organization Al Jazeera. The court ruling was made in June 2020 but Covid disruptions meant Hall’s lawyer only received it on Tuesday. reports that the court found Hall not guilty and overturned a lower court’s decision that he should pay 10 million baht compensation to the company.

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