Labor activist Andy Hall, center.

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) — A British human rights activist who investigated alleged abuses at a fruit processing factory in Thailand in the first in a series of criminal lawsuits filed against him by the Thai company.

Natural Fruit Co. Ltd. is accusing activist Andy Hall of defamation in the wake of a report he helped author last year for the Finland-based watchdog group Finnwatch that detailed poor labor conditions in seafood and pineapple export companies in Thailand.

(MORE: Outcry against Natural Fruit case grows as labor activist’s Thailand trial looms)

Hall faces up to seven years in prison.

There are four criminal and civil cases pending against Hall.

The first began Tuesday and relates to defamation charges for an interview on the subject Hall gave to Qatar-based Al-Jazeera television.

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