British activist goes on trial in Thailand for defamation

British activist Andy Hall answers reporters' questions as he arrives for a hearing at a court in Bangkok on September 2, 2014The defamation trial of a British activist began Tuesday in Bangkok after he co-authored a report alleging widespread labour abuses in Thailand’s food industry, a prime supplier of cheap foodstuffs to Western supermarkets. Andy Hall, 34, faces jail if convicted over lawsuits brought by Thai fruit processor Natural Fruit, after his report levelled accusations of forced and child labour, unlawfully low wages and long hours at one of its factories. Natural Fruit is a major supplier to the European drink market. Defamation is a criminal offence in Thailand and Hall, whose passport has been confiscated by Thai authorities pending the trial, could be jailed for up to a year if found guilty.

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