The king of Thailand has pardoned Harry Nicolaides, and the Australian writer has been released from prison. Nicolaides had been behind Thai bars since last August 31, when he was arrested at the Bangkok airport and charged with insulting the royal family in his novel Verisimilitude. He’d been living and teaching in Thailand and published the book himself in 2005, running off an edition of 50 copies and reportedly selling seven.
Here’s Nicolaides’s back story.
The state apparently took exception to a few sentences in Verisimilitude that describe the romantic exploits of an unnamed Thai crown prince. In mid-January Nicolaides pleaded guilty and was sentenced to more than three years in prison, while calling what was happening to him an “Alice in Wonderland experience” and a “bad dream.” But a pardon from King Bhumibol Adulyadej, 81, was not unexpected. The king had previously criticized the law that Nicolaides was accused of violating. On Thursday he sent him home.
UPDATE: In this interview, Nicolaides describes life in his Thai prison. “It was like the worst of Bangkok’s slums only a hundred times worse,” he says.