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8-Misc: Thai NGOs set up GE fighting fund



-------------------------- GENET-news ---------------------------

TITLE:  One-baht fighting fund to help fend off legal action
        Activists will not be muzzled by lawsuits
SOURCE: The Bangkok Post, by Ploenpote Atthakor
DATE:   January 25, 2000

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One-baht fighting fund to help fend off legal action
Activists will not be muzzled by lawsuits

A"one-baht-each" fund will be set up by non-governmental
organisations to help environmental activists who face legal
charges in pursuing their fight against genetically modified (GM)
products. The idea came from a number of local NGOs after a libel
suit was filed against Daycha Siripatra, chairman of Technology
for Rural and Ecological Enrichment, by Ananta Dalodom, the
director-general of agriculture. Mr Daycha turned himself in last
week and was immediately released on 200,000 baht bail.

He is noted for his vigorous campaign against the use of
genetically modified crops, especially transgenic cotton, which
spread after it was imported for field experiments under the
supervision of the Department of Agriculture. BioThai, an agency
which promotes biological diversity, and an alliance subsequently
brought a charge of negligence against Mr Ananta.

Mr Daycha said the defamation charge against him related to his
statements on the relationship between Mr Ananta and some GM
multinational firms. He denied defaming Mr Ananta and said he
believed the charge was filed to keep him quiet. Mr Daycha said
donation boxes for the fighting fund would be set out at NGO
offices nationwide.

"Such a fund is necessary since there is a growing tendency on
the part of government officials to fight back by taking a case
to court," he said. The fund would be available to people facing
GM-related legal action. "The beneficiaries of the fund are not
limited only to NGOs," he said. The setting up of the fund would
give the public an opportunity to participate in the fight
against the indiscriminate use and spread of genetically modified
products. 


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