Three years Thai jail for Australian novelist

This video from Thailand says about itself:

Free Pichai – Thailand’s lastest victim of lese majeste law

Pichai was arrested by Thai police. He was denied of access to attorney and visitation from family and friends. We want the world to know about this situation.

From British daily The Guardian:

Australian teacher jailed for three years after insulting Thai king

Prosecution comes amid rising tide of lese-majesty cases in Thailand

* Ian MacKinnon in Bangkok

*Monday 19 January 2009

A court in Thailand today sentenced an Australian man to three years in prison for insulting the country’s revered monarchy, in one of the few convictions of foreigners under harsh lese-majesty laws.

Harry Nicolaides‘ sentence had been halved from six years by the five-judge panel in Bangkok because he apologised and pleaded guilty to the charge, which carries a maximum jail term of 15 years.

The 41-year-old looked tense as he stood in orange prison-issue overalls – shackled at the ankles and handcuffed – while the judgment that he had insulted King Bhumibol Adulyadej, 81, was read out.

Nicolaides, a teacher from Melbourne, who has lived in Thailand for several years, was accused of insulting the king, the crown prince and the monarchy in a self-published 2005 novel, Verisimilitude.

The offending passage – read out in court – told of scandalous gossip about a fictional prince and the judge said it “suggested abuse of royal power”. The novel has sold just seven copies in Thailand.

Earlier a tearful Nicolaides said he had “unqualified respect for the king” and had never intended to insult the man who is the world’s longest-serving monarch.

“I would like to apologise,” he said, as guards led him from the court. “This can’t be real. This is an Alice in Wonderland experience. I really believe that I’m going to wake up and it will all be gone.”

His case comes amid a rising tide of lese-majesty accusations and prosecutions, apparently spurred by Thailand’s political polarisation as complaints can be filed by anyone against another.

Nicolaides still does not know who filed the complaint against him. He was arrested in August as he tried to leave Bangkok’s international airport, oblivious to an arrest warrant issued in March over the book he describes as a commentary on social and political life in Thailand.

Thai military ’set refugees adrift to die’: here.

14 thoughts on “Three years Thai jail for Australian novelist

  1. CNN needs to pull its staff out of Thailand immediately and have the courage to print the accusations made by Nicolaides in his book, which was only purchased by seven people. Allowing a third-rate country with a fourth-rate despot to intimidate it is absolutely shameful.


  2. Hi John, I oppose this jail sentence and other anti democratic measures. I would never call Thailand and its people “third rate”. The problem is the government and lack of democracy; like in many other countries; including, sometimes, the most powerful country, a long time ally of oppressive governments in Thailand.


  3. Situations like this is all the more reason to appreciate living where there is “Democracy”. I am so grateful to be able to speak the truth and not be punished for it. There are so many people that don’t want the dirty laundry of truth to be told. Well, keep your laundry clean and you won’t have to worry about it. There is so much corruption going on in so many countries. Anything that is done in the “dark” will eventually come to the “light”. Mr. Nicolaides will be in my prayers. Keep on speaking the truth it Will set you free. Even though they can bind your physical body, they can’t bind your soul.


  4. You think you’ve heard the stupidist most inane thing ever, then wham. This is no way to garner respect. I think it puts the royals in the worst possible light. Like most of these dictators with iron fists, it makes them look childish, petulant, and no one any country would want to deal with. By trying to make themselves look big, they make themselves look small.


  5. Thailand: Petition — Defend freedom of speech. Stop the use of
    `lese majeste’ laws

    Please sign this open letter and ask others to sign.

    Stop the use of lese majeste laws in Thailand. Defend freedom of speech
    We, the undersigned, oppose the use of lese majeste in Thailand in order
    to prevent freedom of speech and academic freedom. We demand that the
    government cease all proceedings in lese majeste cases.

    * Read more


  6. Thailand: Activist Giles Ji Ungpakorn faces arrest for `insulting’
    monarchy (now with excerpts from Coup for the Rich)

    Readers of Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal are urged to
    send letters of protest and calling for all charges against Giles Ji
    Ungpakorn to be dropped. Send them to the Thailand’s Prime Minister
    Abhisit Vejjajiva at Government House, Bangkok, Thailand, fax number
    +66 (0) 29727751. Please also write letters of protest to the ambassador
    of the Royal Thai embassy in your own country.

    * Read more


  7. Thailand: Class war for democracy

    By Giles Ji Ungpakorn
    March 21, 2009 — The current dispensation in Thailand is based on a
    political reaction to stem and reverse some of the populist measures of
    the deposed prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, who himself was a
    neoliberal with a few pro-poor schemes. Even this was unacceptable to
    the elites who used the courts, the military and the monarchy to depose
    him and institute an anti-democratic constitution which protects their
    privileges. But now that Thaksin is gone, a grassroots movement of the
    poor is emerging to challenge the hold of the elites, the military and
    the monarchy over Thailand.

    * Read more


  8. 10 years for criticising king

    THAILAND: A Thai court sentenced a citizen to a decade in jail on Friday for offending the king and his family by posting edited photos of them on the web.

    Suwicha Thakho, who was detained in January, was charged with breaking the country’s Lese Majeste law, which prohibits insulting King Bhumibol Adulyadej and his family.


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