“Unfortunately, there are numerous examples of criminal defamation and the Computer Crime Act being used against human rights defenders in Thailand, a practice that must end, including through a substantial reform of these laws,” he added.

Laurent Meillan, acting regional representative for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, said the ruling is “very disturbing” given that it came one day after world leaders “committed to a landmark UN declaration to ‘strengthen the positive contributions made by migrants to economic and social development in their host countries.'”

“Instead of prosecuting Mr. Hall, it would have been more appropriate to conduct an independent and thorough investigation into the serious allegations raised in the Finnwatch report,” Meillan said.

Instead, reporting indicates that during the trial the court showed bias on the side of  the privately-owned fruit wholesaler.

According to BBC, “in court Andy Hall was repeatedly asked to prove his allegations of low wages, and dire conditions against the pineapple processing giant. Despite bringing his research notes, photos and several witnesses to court it wasn’t enough.”

Further, “[i]n their summing up the judges gave weight to Natural Fruit’s evidence that government inspectors had regularly visited the factory and found no serious issues.”

After the ruling, Hall, who is expected to appeal, told reporters: “I do not feel shame or regret…I am fighting for the rights of migrant workers.”

He added that his conviction would send “shockwaves in the international community.”

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