Monday, February 23, 2009

Harry Nicholaides Freed

Harry Nicolaides, the Australian author imprisoned in Thailand on a charge of lese majeste has been freed. This message came via the Facebook group campaigning for his release:
Dear all,

Some fantastic news! Harry was granted a Royal Pardon by his Majesty the King of Thailand on Wednesday afternoon Bangkok time. The Nicolaides family is grateful to his Majesty the King for the decision he has made and to the relevant Thai authorities who dealt with the pardon application in an expeditious manner. Harry has been released from prison and has arrived back in Melbourne today. For a short time, Harry will not be speaking to any media as he will be initially focusing on regaining his health and rejoining with his family in Melbourne.

The last 6 months has been an extremely difficult and trying time for my family and our mission is now accomplished – we brought Harry home. I would sincerely like to thank everyone who has supported the family’s efforts and in assisting with encouraging the Australian government to take affirmative action to secure Harry’s release.

Best Regards,
Forde Nicolaides
Thanks all of you who signed the petition.

But according to The Herald Sun, his homecoming was tinged with sadness as his mother had had a stroke while he was in prison.

Postscript : (1/3/09)

Yes but ... was Nicholaides deliberately courting danger? A former colleague says he remembers the author talking about ways to achieve literary fame and rejecting advice not to publish the section that gave offense. :
In the end, Nicolaides was simply a literary speculator whose quest for fame and notoriety cost him dearly.
says Heath Dollar in The Sydney Morning Herald. [Links found via Literary Saloon]

Nicolaides accuses Dollar of trying to win a little fame on the back of his case. Dammit, is there no honour among ESL teachers and wannabe authors??

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