Posts Tagged ‘court’

A Thai court’s $312,500 libel verdict against a British human rights activist reporting on labour abuses in the country will have a chilling effect on others defending migrant workers, a rights group said.

UK citizen Andy Hall was found guilty of defamation in a civil suit brought by Thailand’s pineapple tinning company, Natural Fruit.

The court in the capital Bangkok ordered the 35-year-old to pay Natural Fruit 10 million Thai baht (US$312,500) in damages, in addition to lawyer and court fees – a decision condemned by Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Wednesday.

The US-based rights group urged the Thai government to “publicly oppose the use of retaliatory defamation cases resulting in excessive awards”.

“Massive libel damages for reporting on human rights violations will undermine desperately needed research on labour abuses in Thailand,” Brad Adams, Asia director at HRW, said in a statement.

“The Thai government should recognise that the country’s reputation and economy are better served by ending the mistreatment of migrant workers and ensuring compliance with international labour standards than by embracing a legal system that hands down ridiculous damage awards.”

Continue reading: AL JAZEERA NEWS

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A Bangkok court has ordered a British labour activist to pay damages to a Finnish fruit company. The verdict has sabotaged attempts to expose human rights violations in Thailand, said a human rights organisation.

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On 26 March 2018, the Phra Khanong Provincial Court in Bangkok, read its verdict on a civil damages claim against Andy Hall, filed by the pineapple company Natural Fruit Co Ltd, ordering Andy Hall to pay 10 million baht in damages to the company. Court also additionally order Hall to pay 10,000 baht for the plaintiff’s lawyer and the court fee including the interest of 7.5% from the date of filing this case until the amount is fully paid.

Hall’s lawyer told the media that he will appeal the case to the Supreme Court.

According to Finnwatch, the case relates to an interview Hall gave to Al-Jazeera English in Myanmar in April 2013. The activist report alleged severe human rights violations in the Natural Fruit Company Ltd. factory in Prachuap Khiri Khan province in Southern Thailand. In response, the company pressed multiple criminal and civil charges against Hall.

“We are absolutely appalled by today’s ruling. It comes as a shock,” said Sonja Vartiala, executive director of Finnwatch. “This decision restricts freedom of expression and prevents exposing human rights violations. It is difficult to grasp.”

Continue reading: Prachatai English

A pro-democracy activist was detained briefly at a military court Friday, one day before he plans to lead a protest demanding that the military abolish the ruling junta.

Rangsiman Rome was taken into custody Friday over two-year-old charges he violated the junta’s ban on political assembly while in the northeastern province. He was held five hours before being freed at 3pm on a 10,000 baht bond from the 23rd Military Circle Headquarters.

“I’m not anxious about this case,” Rangsiman said Friday afternoon before pivoting to discuss Saturday’s march. “Tomorrow I will still lead the walk from Thammasat University, Tha Prachan campus, to the army base for a march to raise awareness as planned, even if the court order says I can’t do it.”

Rangsiman has been barred from leaving the country or “inciting incidents.” He will be summoned for questioning on May 7.

Continue reading: Khaosod English

Thailand’s military government has issued an order to seize US$16 million ($30 million) in assets from ousted prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra over a failed rice subsidy scheme for farmers.

A Thai court has also issued an arrest warrant for Ms Yingluck’s exiled brother Thaksin Shinawatra, after he failed to turn up for a defamation case filed against him by the army.

The moves intensify pressure on the powerful Shinawatra family whose parties have won every election since 2001 on a wave of policies that were popular with Thailand’s rural masses.

Since toppling Ms Yingluck’s democratically-elected government in a coup last year, the military has dismantled almost all of her family’s network in state institutions and side-lined its political allies.

Source: Thai junta plan to seize $30m from ousted PM Yingluck Shinawatra

Former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

Former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

Yingluck wrote an open letter to general Prayuth on her Facebook about her views on the rice subsidy scheme and the junta’s action against her. Her complete statement:

Open Letter
To: General Prayuth Chan-ocha,
Head of the National Council for Peace and Order

I am writing an open letter to you because I haven’t had the opportunity to communicate with or meet you in person since you came into power as the Head of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) and the Prime Minister over a year ago on 22 May 2014. Since then, I have been continuously mistreated related to the “Rice Subsidy Scheme”, which I had declared to the parliament on many occasions;

1. National Legislative Assembly (NLA) impeached and removed me from the position of Prime Minister although at the time I was not in that position because I had already resigned and also was disqualified of the position by the Constitutional Court.

2. The Attorney General held a press conference stating his decision to indict and prosecute me to the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Persons Holding Political Positions just a mere “one hour” before NLA’s impeachment.

You may reject an issue and state that these are not relevant to your responsibility since these two matters are in the hands of the NLA and the Attorney General. However, the following matter will be in your direct authority.

Regarding the Order no.448/2558 signed by you and the Minister of Finance dated April 3rd, 2015 under the subject of “the Appointment of the Fact Finding Committee”, you have appointed a committee to find out whether anybody must be responsible to pay compensation to the government for the damages incurred from the Rice Subsidy Scheme. In this matter, you spoke to the press insisting that if someone was found responsible for damages, compensations must be claimed.

You also emphasized that “if the fact finding indicates that if someone is guilty, then the conclusion is guilty. If the fact finding suggests otherwise, then the conclusion would be not guilty. If guilty, the due process shall be followed in filing for civil claim. Single standard is applied for all parties to ensure justice in an equitable manner.”

I sincerely hope you assigned the Fact Finding Committee to investigate the case under due process of law to provide “Justice” and adhere strictly to the due process without any unnecessary acceleration to conclude the findings. I hope that you will ensure fair and just opportunity for related persons to present evidences.

I feel worried because one of your legal advisors had publicly stated that it was conducive to claiming damages in the civil case which would cost enormous court fees to the government although the way normally used to claim for damages and to bring the case to the court is the best way to maintain justice.

However, your legal advisor tried to “misinterpret the law and legal mechanism” to claim for damages by advising you to issue administrative order, forcing me to pay for damages and to seize my asset just to avoid the court fees. By exercising the Administrative Order, you do not even have to consult the cabinet. It means that you are using your power as if you were a judge while the criminal case trial is still under the legal process in court.

I am making this statement as the former Prime Minister who was in charge of the Rice Subsidy Scheme that was aimed at enhancing the living conditions of the Thai farmers, who are responsible for the production of our nation’s commodity. The scheme was also vital in addressing issues in the rice price and market mechanism. I performed my duties with the utmost dedication to ensure that it led to the economic and social advancement of the nation. The scheme was managed under the position of Chairman of National Rice Policy’s Committee during my term as it is with you in the same position today.

I believe all people are entitled to a fair trial in court which is fundamental to the rule of law. The Rice Subsidy Scheme was a public policy that was declared to the parliament and the implementation of the scheme was compulsory administrative act. The Scheme legally binds all related government departments to its execution.

Therefore, the claim process of civil charge must be transparent and fair. You, as the Prime Minister and as the Chairman of National Rice Policy Committee, are currently addressing rice issues in disagreement of my rice policy. This means that you are a “stakeholder” and cannot possibly offer “unbiased” views on the matter. Therefore, exercising the Prime Minister power as a judge to order a civil claim without the court’s decision is definitely against the rule of law.

To proceed in accordance to the rule of laws, I propose to you as follow:
1. Reconsider and terminate any executions regarding the Rice Subsidy Scheme’s civil claim proposed by your legal advisors and signed by the Prime Minister and the Chairman of the National Rice Policy Committee at the present which are unfair and is subject to conflicts of interest.

2. After the court’s ruling in the criminal case, the government should file a civil claim through the court in order to be just to the accused if found guilty.

3. The trial at the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Persons Holding Political Positions is still not final. Your legal advisor stated that the case’s statute of limitation still have enough ongoing time. The government should not accelerate or shortcut the fact finding procedure for the case. To be fair and just, you should provide sufficient opportunities for related persons to testify and present their evidences. I have sent many requests to you and the Fact Finding Committee asking for the opportunity to present evidences but many requests have not been considered and examined.

Finally, I have asked my lawyer to submit the formal letter in this matter to you on Tuesday October 13th, 2015 at 10.00 a.m. at the government’s Information and Complaint Channel. I sincerely hope that when you receive this letter, you would not simply ignore it but consider my request in a just manner since you have always claimed that you will ensure equal justice for all.

Thank you.
Yingluck Shinawatra
Former Prime Minister of Thailand
12th October 2015