Thai court sentences Australian author to three years in jail on lese majesty charge 2009-01-19 18:56:18   Print

    BANGKOK, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- A Bangkok criminal court on Monday sentenced an Australian author to three years in jail for his remarks in a novel found insulting the highly-revered monarchy in Thailand.

    Defendant Harry Nicolaides, 41, was initially sentenced to six years in jail for remarks in a novel he published in 2005 titled "Verisimilitude", which was found by the court containing messages offending the Thai royal family.

    Nicolaides, who had earlier worked as a university lecturer in northern Thailand, was arrested last August at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi International Airport upon an arrest warrant issued some two and a half years before.

    He pleaded guilty on the charge on Monday and the court resolved to reduce the punishment by half due to his confession.

    Lese Majeste is a felony punishable to a maximum 15-year imprisonment in the kingdom, which is run under the system of constitutional monarchy and holds the royal institution in high respect.

    Thailand's new government, since appointed last December, has stepped up actions against what they believed anti-monarchy offenses.

    Earlier in January, Thai authorities announced that they have blocked 2,300 websites and wanted to take on 400 more for allegedly insulting the Thai monarchy.

Editor: Zhang Xiang
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