British labour rights researcher Andy Hall was acquitted on the 29th of October by the Phrakanong Provincial Court, Bangkok, when it dismissed charges of criminal defamation in relation to his work to expose labour rights violations. Regional human rights specialist and barrister Mark Plunkett of Brisbane, Australia, monitored the trial on behalf of the London-based International Centre for Trade Union Rights.
Plunkett said ‘this is a good result. Hall is clearly a human rights defender engaged in legitimate work to investigate the conditions of migrant workers. The work that Hall was engaged in should not have been the subject of a criminal prosecution. And it was no coincidence that five UN Special Rapporteurs had spoken out in support of Hall and his work’. Plunkett welcomed the fact that ‘the judges conducted the trial of Mr Hall fairly with dignity and discernment’, but he criticised the law under which the prosecution was brought, the conduct of the prosecution, and the restriction on note taking by members of the public and press.
The trial observer’s full report is now available on the ICTUR website at: www.ictur.org/Eng/