Lèse Majesté: Thailand Sentences Australian Writer To Three Years in Prison for Insulting Royal Family in Book

family_portrait_sIn yet another outrage by the Thai government’s use of the country’s Lèse majesté (prohibiting offenses against the crown), Australian writer Harry Nicolaides has been sentenced to three years in prison for insulting the crown in his 2005 book Verisimilitude. The sentence was originally six years but cut in half because of his guilty plea. In the meantime, British reporter Jonathan Head was charged under the laws for remarks that he made on a panel discussion at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand.

The Thai royalty has been on a royal tear of late. In 2008, it sentenced a swiss man to ten years after, in a drunken fit, he defaced the image of the King. (He was pardoned after a month).

In the case of Head, police official Wattanasak Mungkandee filed a complaint after he heard remarks Head made while moderating a panel discussion at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand on Dec 13 entitled Coup, Capital and Crown.

Nicolaides was arrested at the Bangkok airport for slandering the 81-year-old King Bhumibol Adulyadej and other members of the royal family.

In his sentencing, Nicolaides stated “I would like to apologize. This can’t be real. It feels like a bad dream. . . . I respect the king of Thailand, I was aware there were obscure laws (about the monarchy) but I didn’t think they would apply to me.” He referred enduring “unspeakable suffering” in custody.

The use of such laws (particularly against writers) should be a cause of international condemnation but it has been barely covered in the media.

Notably, only seven copies of the book were reportedly sold.

For the full story, click here.

3 thoughts on “Lèse Majesté: Thailand Sentences Australian Writer To Three Years in Prison for Insulting Royal Family in Book”

  1. If only such regimes could be convinced that the response to such actions would be immediate international dissemination of the offending works to all and sundry.

  2. Can someone put up a paypal button for donations to send Larry Sinclair to Thailand? Maybe we could send Corsi on over as well.

    Regarding Corsi’s book…
    “The book is published by Threshold Editions, Mary Matalin’s imprint at Simon & Schuster. It “was not designed to be, and does not set out to be, a political book,” Matalin sniffed to Jim Rutenberg and Julie Bosman of the New York Times. Rather, it is “a piece of scholarship, and a good one at that.”


    “Why did Corsi write The Obama Nation? Was it in disinterested pursuit of scholarly truth? Er, not exactly. “The goal is to defeat Obama,” he told the Times. “I don’t want Obama to be in office.””




    Back to the story. I read the linked article, and I still can’t find what the man said that lead to his arrest/conviction. ?

  3. Jonathan Head has much more questionable writing than Harry and alot of his facts are not checked properly. I am surprised that he does not escape while he can, surely he cannot believe that working for the BBC can protect him after the stories that he has written.

    Run Jonathan Run

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