Activist Hall to surrender, seek bail before indictment hearing

11 January 2016
Activist Hall to surrender, seek bail before indictment hearing
British lawyer and migrant workers' rights activist, Andy Hall greets member of the media as he arrives for his trial at the Bangkok South Criminal Court in Bangkok, Thailand, 24 August 2015. Photo: Narong Sangnak/EPA

British migrant rights activist Andy Hall will formally surrender to the South Bangkok Criminal Court on Wednesday, five days before he is scheduled to appear at his formal indictment on defamation and Computer Crimes Act charges.
He is required to attend court again on Jan 18 to hear the indictment brought by prosecutors on behalf of Natural Fruit Co.
Mr Hall will, on Jan 13, request temporary release on bail, according to a statement he released Monday. The statement said he will pled innocent to the charges, which carry a maximum penalty of seven years in prison.
Finnwatch, the Thai Tuna Industry Association (TTIA) and Thai Union Group have prepared 300,000 baht as surety for Mr Hall's release, he said in a statement Monday.
As a condition for bail, the court may order Mr Hall's passport be confiscated and impose a travel ban on him leaving the country.
The charges in this case relate to publication of a Finnwatch report detailing alleged human rights violations at Natural Fruit's pineapple-processing plant in Prachuap Kiri Khan province. Mr Hall coordinated the field research for the report and conducted interviews with workers.
This case is only one of four filed by Natural Fruit against Mr Hall. The other criminal defamation case, related to an Aljazeera new interview given by him in Myanmar, was dismissed by the Appeal Court in September, but will be appealed to the Supreme Court.
The cases have been widely criticised as an attempt to silence the critic.