Harry Nicolaides Freed after Royal Pardon

February 21, 2009
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An Australian author who has spent five months in a Thai jail is on his way home after being given a royal pardon. Harry Nicolaides, 41, was arrested last August and was sentenced to three years’ jail last month for insulting the Thai monarchy in his 2005 book, Verisimilitude. His lawyer, Mark Dean, says the pardon was granted on Thursday night and Nicolaides was deported from Thailand at midnight.

“The Australian Government and the Thai Government have been working together very closely on the resolution of Harry’s case,” he said. “The various steps that had to be taken in Thailand were expedited in this case, resulting in the King being able to grant the pardon last Thursday.”

Nicolaides was sentenced on January 19 by a Thai criminal court over Verisimilitude, which contained references to an unnamed crown prince. He was arrested in late August as he boarded a flight to Melbourne and was repeatedly denied bail. TV images of a deeply distraught Nicolaides led to widespread concern in Australia, with his family shocked as he was brought to the court in prison garb and chains. He described his time in prison as “torture” and “a bad dream” and has expressed remorse over the publication.

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