New York, February 23, 2008--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the release from a Thai detention facility of Australian writer Harry Nicolaides but calls upon authorities to reform the draconian lese majeste laws under which he was sentenced.
Nicolaides was sentenced to three years in prison on January 19 for a
passage in his book, Verisimilitude, which referred critically to an
unnamed crown prince. He was originally arrested in August at
King Bhumibol Adulyadej issued a pardon for Nicolaides' release on February
20 and he arrived in
"While we welcome the release of Harry Nicolaides, we strongly believe
he never should have been imprisoned in the first place," said Shawn Crispin,
The growing and arbitrary use of the law by government officials, including three cases filed by a senior Thai police official against BBC Bangkok correspondent Jonathan Head, have had a chilling effect on the country's media environment. CPJ met earlier this month with senior BBC editors to discuss mounting concerns about the law's usage.
On January 27, CPJ
wrote to Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to express its concern about