Saturday, February 22, 2014

Saturday, February 22, 2014
10
BUT AMBASSADOR EXPRESSED CONCERN THAT HE WAS 'VERBALLED' DURING AN INTERVIEW


Documents obtained by human rights activist Andy Hall under the UK Freedom of Information Act show that British Embassy officials could not warn him that when entering Thailand he could be arrested.

Although the Embassy were in possession of the facts and had information from Thai Police that he was about to be arrested by them they could not interfere with the Thai judicial system.

Andy Hall is being sued by the National Fruit, of Prachuap Khiri Kan, under the Thai Criminal Libels laws and Computer Crime Act for allegedly Broadcasting false statements to the public media.

He was interviewed on al Jazeera Television in relation to a report by Finnwatch which detailed bad labor conditions for Burmese workers at National Fruit’s pineapple factory.

In the U.K. there is no criminal libel law. It is a civil offence, and no Computer Crime Act, which was created in Thailand in the interests of national security, but has been widely used by established figures, and even convicts, to protect their reputations.

The Embassy did ask for permission from the Royal Thai Police to tell Andy Hall or rather share his arrest document, but the reply is not known or shown.




The British Embassy appears to be walking a tightrope.  It should not assist in the arrest of a British citizen for 'offences' which would be perfectly lawful in the U.K. and could only be subject of a civil suit, but on the other hand should co-operate in law enforcement issues.

The organization Front Line Defenders has expressed concern that a document prepared by Police Lieutenant Boonlai Chaitip, Investigating officer at the Bang Na police station "contained a clause stating that the Andy Hall confessed committing the acts described therein.

“Andy Hall is English-speaking, the document was drafted in Thai and the police did not provide a translator to the human rights defender”



The Ambassador did however express concern at allegations that police had falsely presented a statement attributed to Hall in which he confessed.

Hall has of course has denied confessing. He is also being sued for US$10 million damages.


10 comments:

  1. This is interesting... Had this been an 'extradition request' then the UK would clearly have refused on the basis of lack of Dual Criminality ie: he done nothing wrong under UK law. However they allowed him and were party to him being thrown to the dogs.. I think a good human rights lawyer could make something of this!

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  2. A rather grovelling letter from Mark Kent. You don't append "with best wishes' in a letter as serious as this. I understand he has to be diplomatic but this is the action of a sycophant.

    (And at least 3 grammatical errors in the first letter!) it's, it's, lead. I'm no grammar nazi but one expects better from a civil servant

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    1. Yes ending the letter with " With my best wishes" really destroys the whole tone of the letter.

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    2. I can't see an issue there - he is writing to the Foreign Ministry - not the police.

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    3. The Ambassador is writing formally to the Foreign office and enclosing a copy of Mr Hall’s complaint. This is a serious matter. The Ambassador states he wishes the Authorities to speedily look at Mr Hall’s complaint, to be kept up to date of the results and any investigations. I would have ended the letter. “I look forward to your response at the earliest opportunity”. Meaning I want a serious response whereas “with my best wishes” could be construed as suggesting otherwise.

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    4. I agree Graeme. Anyone reading Kent's letter, including Thais, would not take it seriously. It's far too weak. It needed to be polite but forceful. He shows he has no backbone and gives the impression he is quite prepared to back down. He wouldn't last long playing poker, that's for sure.

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  3. To get to a high ranking post in any Civil Service you have to be a life long bureaucrat. Political correctness assures us that only the very best brown-nosers and 'yes men' can grovel their way to the top in this type of system.

    When I see the word 'Honorary' in a job description I immediately think 'Sucker who'll work for free doing the job some paid Government worker should be doing but doesn't want to as it may require decisions to be made and that may upset someone and therefore hinder career path'

    Much better to shift liability onto some poor unpaid sap who can be the anointed scapegoat if something goes wrong.

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  4. Andrew many thanks for informing your readers about the FCO Consular Enquiry. I responded with several points the first of which was why the Embassy carried no Out of Hours Emergency contact details as the very first item in SERVICES on the Embassy web page in contrast to some other British Embassies world wide and 3 working days after receipt, a very good Out of Hours Emergency contact etc paragraph popped up on the Bangkok Embassy website . I must give you the credit and the FCO. I think it is important it is the very first service and is clear to any Brit in an emergency. I am hopeful other points maybe taken on board.

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  5. In contrast to Andy Hall’s situation the British Embassy’s took action and also gave a model response to the Australian Editor of the Phuketwan.
    http://phuketwan.com/tourism/phuket-defamation-case-british-ambassador-speaks-democracy-rohingya-19651/
    Note the references in the Ambassador’s letter to “fundamental freedoms”, “freedom of the media” “respect for human rights” etc. I suspect the poor treatment given to Mr Hall may have influenced how the Embassy subsequently treated the Phuketwan editor but that is of no consolation to Mr Hall.

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    1. There's an easy answer to that. Alan Morison and Chutima are not British citizens and the issue is Rohingya's. He does not have to back up anything he says. Andy Hall is British he is in a situation which could develop into the wider trade arguments (many factories could be involded and then the British buyers - headachesville!) so blurts freedom of the media from the British Embassy means nothing. I am here being pursued by a British criminal what do you think the Embassy are going to do for me. I did ask by the way :-)

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