Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Wednesday, October 02, 2013
12
EMBASSY HELP HALL SAYS WAS: 'HERE'S A BOOK ON WHAT TO DO IN JAIL!'

British human rights activist Andy Hall has challenged the British Embassy to provide the consular duties required of it - citing the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's own written commitments.

Claiming that Embassy help so far has entailed little more than being given a book on ‘What to do in prison’ Hall, who has taken on the Thai food giant National Fruit has put Ambassador Mark Kent on the line.

H.E. Mark Kent has promised to answer Andy Hall’s accusation in full. Thousands of Britons in Thailand are awaiting the answer in some anticipation.  For the average Brits help, when they are in legal trouble, is the provision of a list of lawyers. ..and the Embassy, not surprisingly, refuses to take responsibility if the lawyer turns out to be dodgy, as they have done in the past.

In fact Hall, from Spalding, Lincs, who is being sued both criminally and for US$10 million in damages by Natural Fruit, claims he has been told he has no more rights than a suspected  child sexual abuser.

“I would like to remind you that on my first visit to meet with Julian, he reminded me that 'essentially you are no different to an accused paedophile who is claiming innocence. We don't support cases unless there are signs of actions supported by thai government officials or others to undermine your opportunities for a fair trial.' Julian then proceeded to give me a book on 'What to do in jail' and felt that was as was required for his duty.”

Andy Hall was part of a Finnwatch Team which published a scathing report on how the Natural Fruit Co., treated its workers in Prachuab Khiri Kan province.  Natural Fruit is not suing Finnwatch, but Andy Hall, who stayed behind to continue his campaign to support Burmese labour right. He is now in Rangoon/Yangon/

The Embassy exchange is detailed below.



H.E. Mark Kent
Dear Mark Kent (Ambassador, BKK) and Julian (Vice Consul, BKK)

Cc: FCO, London

Cc: John Hayes, MP for South Holland and the Deepings

I would like to bring your attention to 'Information for British Nationals in Thailand' posted on your website

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/144204/Thailand_Prison_Pack.pdf


I skim read it through and found some interesting points. It seems that British Embassy in Thailand may be in violation of its code of conduct regarding my case:

- "(All employ consular officers, and) one of their jobs is to provide help and advice to any British National who gets into difficulty."

- "Consular staff are there to support you and take an interest in your welfare."


- "(we can) give you information about the local legal system and about prosecution, remand, bail and appeal procedures."


- "(we can) approach the local authorities if you are not treated in line with internationally accepted standards."

UK government's new CSR Action plan says that "(UK Government plans to) instruct the UK’s Embassies and High Commissions to support human rights defenders working on issues related to business and human rights; and provide financial support, through the FCO Human Rights and Democracy Programme, to civil society organisations to ‘promote protection of human rights defenders who are actively engaged on issues relating to business and human rights’."

See more at:

http://www.ishr.ch/council/376-council/1567-uk-shows-welcome-leadership-on-human-rights-defenders-and-corporate-accountability


Both yourself and Julian raised with me that the British Embassy was ready and willing to ensure I get a fair trial and would immediately act on any potential injustice or unfairness in my case.

Could you therefore confirm for me what the UK Embassy is going to do to ensure government officials in Thailand (particularly police officers) are not seeking to undermine my basic right to justice and a fair trial. Other diplomats in Bangkok (but not my own embassy) have contacted me continuously, but the Embassy remains a silent actor either towards me or in general.

Also, can the embassy explain how it intends in relation to me and my decade of work in Thailand 'to support human rights defenders working on business and human rights and to promote protection of human rights defenders who are actively engaged on issues relating to business and human rights.'

Below Finnwatch Video on Andy Hall and the Natural Fruit Company



I would like to remind you that on my first visit to meet with Julian, he reminded me that 'essentially you are no different to an accused paedophile who is claiming innocence. We don't support cases unless there are signs of actions supported by thai government officials or others to undermine your opportunities for a fair trial.' Julian then proceeded to give me a book on 'What to do in jail' and felt that was as was required for his duty.

Finally, I inform you that I am currently discussing with lawyers and my support networks in UK regarding how the conduct of the Embassy in my case so far has been in compliance with the 1998 Human Rights Act as well as the Data Protection Act and Freedom of Information Act. I note that information that has been denied to my own family in UK through citing the Data Protection Act has since been shared with other colleagues.
I would welcome your response here to the above issues.

Regards, Andy Hall

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Andy Hall

From his Excellency Mark Kent

'Dear Andy,
Thank you for your emails. We will send you a substantive reply to the points that you raise shortly.

Regards,
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The cases against Andy Hall

(1) Southern Bangkok Criminal Court - computer crimes act (max 5 years imprisonment per count/fine) - pending
(2) Southern Bangkok Criminal Court - defamation (max 2 years imprisonment per count/fine) - pending
(3) Bangna Police Station - defamation (max 2 years imprisonment per count/fine) - pending
(4) Nakhon Pathom Civil Court - defamation (damages claimed US$10 million or Thai Baht 300 million) - pending

FLYING SPORRAN COMMENT: I think it would piss me off too if I went to the Embassy for help and they told me they could afford me no more help than they would an accused child sexual abuser. That's why I have never gone. But by God have I neeeded it sometimes!
I mean its probably close to the truth, but you do not want to hear it.
Better I suppose than ''Don't worry you are not going to jail'' - which is what some Thai official has said to just about every British prisoner in Thailand.

12 comments:

  1. Ah the list of "lawyers" provided by the British embassy....
    Any government organization that has Noises "one shop shit stop" can only be viewed with contempt and derision....

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    Replies
    1. Drew Noise is listed by the UK embassy?

      They may as well close that building in Wireless Road down.

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    2. Unless they've recently removed it his “One Stop” shop was on their list of legal providers. I down loaded the list several months ago and was horrified to see it on there. I had intended to complain about it.

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    3. I have just downloaded the legal list and there is a ONE STOP LEGAL SERVICES CO LTD listed at Keha Tower 1 in the Pattaya Section. There is at the end of the download a form for commenting on the service received by the firms on the list. So I suspect people may want to use and send directly to Mr Kent, Ambassador Bangkok. See https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/144203/Thailand_Lawyers_Translators.pdf

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    4. Further to my earlier post the Embassy/Gov list is dated as revised March 2013

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  2. Usual Thai law. Guilty until visit ATM

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  3. Your report suggests a modern day email exchange between Andy Hall and Mark Kent. Andy Hall correctly addresses his email to Mark Kent, Ambassador, Bangkok. The reply comes from His Excellency Mark Kent...... to Andy. I understand that Mr Kent may have to use His Excellency.... in official public documents and Government to Government correspondence but in an email exchange with an ordinary British citizen. The phrase “it is just an anachronism” is not the first that comes to mind but rather “The Right Honourable Andrew Mitchell and plebs”

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    Replies
    1. I wondered when somebody was going to mention this. "His Excellency' - give me a break! These career bureaucrats need to get it through their pointy heads they are paid by the taxpayer to serve the taxpayer. If they don't do their job it is our right to take them to task.

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  4. The Right Honourable William Hague stated:
    “We benefit from the European Union arrangement that EU nationals with no Embassy of their own can turn to any other Member State for help.
    But those who think we are ever going to subcontract consular services are mistaken. For us consular services will always remain a national responsibility.
    Within the European Union, there is no role for EU institutions in defining the consular assistance that Member States should provide to their citizens, or in providing frontline consular assistance. These are matters for which national governments are accountable to their Parliaments and we will oppose EU competence creep in this area”
    If as reported other EU diplomats and EU institutions are offering support to Andy Hall perhaps the Rt Honorable William Hague will reconsider his statement and “creep mentality”.
    Surely the FCO will not oppose EU support on this matter.

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  5. Once the Ambassador and Juilian have replied to Andy Hall I hope that since the Embassy executed the Royal Thai Police instructions/request so efficiently might the Ambassador or Julian ask the Royal Thai Police to notify Messrs Oxley, Rawlings and others who have fled the UK that they are cordially invited to come to the Police Station at Heathrow at their earliest convenience. They will experience the new “chocolate teapot service” presently being trialled and to be rolled out to our overseas customers shortly.

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