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Andy Hall, the face of the Koh Tao murders defence team has left Thailand. In a public announcement on his Facebook page he said sited four years of legal battles against defamation and computer crimes were his reason for leaving and said
As an individual and as an international affairs advisor to the Migrant Worker Rights Network (MWRN) and the State Enterprise Worker Relations Confederation (SERC), I have been dedicated to working as a human rights defender and activist for over 11 years. My goal has always been to improve living and working conditions of millions of exploited migrant workers in Thailand and ensure these workers access fully labour rights and other rights they are entitled under Thai law. However, in the end, the situation has not worked out as I planned or hoped. This work has entailed many personal challenges. I have in particular encountered insurmountable challenges with some companies and establishments.
He went on to say
I have discussed carefully and over a period of time with my colleagues and my legal team a plan to leave Thailand without specifying a return date given the increasingly negative developments highlighted above. I have now finally decided to leave Thailand today as planned, and with confidence that for now, this is the right decision for me and for MWRN. Concerning counter prosecutions against certain individuals and companies in relation to ongoing judicial harassment against me, I have assigned all authority to act on my behalf in these matters and during my absence from Thailand to my Head Lawyer. Any remaining work that I am responsible for has been assigned to MWRN’s team
While many are sorry that Hall has found it necessary to leave the country some are questioning what will happen to Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo, the two 23 year old Migrant Workers from Myanmar who sit on death row in Thailand’s notorious Bangkwang prison after being found guilty of the rape and murder of Hannah Witheridge and the murder of David Miller in 2014. Andy Hall was the face of the defence team and gave many press conferences about the case outside the Koh Samui court. During a Channel 4 documentary it was said that Andy himself put together a legal team to defend the two men, however, the spouse of one of the Thai legal team members, said in an email to the Samui Times
in my opinion AH is a douchebag, and I must admit I would pretty much agree with anyone who held similar opinions
he went on to say
None of the team members actually like working with him, but he was taken on as a necessary evil as he was willing to manage and accomplish many things the team could not by themselves
Suggesting he did not assemble a legal team at all.
Many of those following the Koh Tao case, both supporters and non-supporters of the Burmese men, have asked to see the accounts that Hall says he produced accounting for where all of the publicly donated funds for the Burmese two went. To date Hall has not produced the accounts. Futhermore Robert Holmes, a man who Hall endorsed as a Senior Australian Barrister, who was also advising the Thai legal team is also yet to return $5000 Aus to Australian Solicitor Ian Yarwood who donated the funds in order to support the appeal effort, the funds where never used in conjunction with the case. Far from being a senior Australian Barrister the Samui Times discovered Holmes was actually an ex convict who spent time behind bars for fraud.
Hall visited Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo in prison only a few days ago, it is unclear if he told them he was leaving Thailand and what his association with their case and appeal would be from now on in as he has set no date to return.