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3 Nov 2020

AFP, Bangkok Post

Thailand: Natural Fruit drops $9.6 million civil defamation case against activist Andy Hall

"Natural Fruit drops case against activist Andy Hall", 28 October 2020.

The pineapple company Natural Fruit on Wednesday dropped a $9.6 million civil defamation case against a British human rights activist who had alleged abuse of migrant workers in the kingdom's fruit industry.

Andy Hall has been hit with a series of lawsuits over the past eight years after contributing to a 2012 report about alleged poor working conditions, low wages and child labour at the factory in Pranburi in the lower central province of Prachuap Khiri Khan.

In 2016 he was found guilty of criminal defamation and given a suspended three-year prison sentence before the conviction was overturned in June this year.

In response the company launched a 300-million-baht civil defamation case in July.

But with the trial due to start, lawyers for the firm told the Bangkok court Wednesday it would drop the charges.

"The plaintiff intends to withdraw the case and wants the court to dismiss this case from the court system," court documents said.

Mr Hall, who left Thailand in 2016 after living there for 12 years, welcomed Wednesday's decision in a statement but said it was "not a victory"...

The two parties will be back in court in December over separate civil defamation charges that relate to a 2013 interview Mr Hall gave to Al Jazeera.

A ruling is expected on whether Mr Hall will be liable to pay 10 million baht ($321,000) in damages to Natural Fruit...