NEWS

Writer imprisoned for insulting Thai royals

A 41-year-old Australian writer of Greek-Cypriot origin was yesterday sentenced to three years in a Thai jail for insulting Thailand’s royal family in his novel, a fictional work published in 2005 that has sold only seven copies. Harry Nicolaides, a native of Melbourne who had been teaching English at a university in Thailand, pleaded guilty to charges of insulting the monarchy which led to his term being cut to three years from six. Appearing in court in prison overalls and leg chains, Nicolaides apologized to the Thai royals. He said he had been aware of an obscure law «but not that it would apply to me.» According to the Thai court, a passage in the book «Verisimilitude» «suggested there was abuse of royal power.» Nicolaides told reporters that he had endured «unspeakable suffering» during his pretrial detention.