A group of major European companies has voiced alarm at the trial of a British activist who could be imprisoned in Thailand for his investigation into alleged labour abuses in the Kingdom's food industry.
Andy Hall faces several civil and criminal lawsuits submitted by Thai fruit processor Natural Fruit in response to accusations of forced and child labour, unlawfully low wages, and long hours.
“We are greatly worried and concerned about this negative development,” United Nordic, an alliance of food companies from northern Europe, said wrote to the Thai Food Processors Association.
“We do believe that this development can further hurt the Thai food industry,” it added, calling for “the engagement of constructive dialogues with organisations and civil society”.
Hall, who made the allegations in a report last year for Finnish rights group Finnwatch, is due in court in Bangkok on September 2 on a defamation charge linked to an interview he gave to the AlJazeera television network about the case.
The activist’s passport has been confiscated by Thailand’s military regime pending his trial.