2008: Thailand: Harry Nicolaides

29. September 2008

Dear Prime Minister
Samak Sundaravej
The Secretariat of the Prime Minister, Office of the Prime Minister
Government House
Pitsanulok Road
Dusit, Bangkok 10300
Fax: +66 2 280 0858

Dear Minister of Justice
Sompong Amornwiwat
Office of the Minister
Ministry of Justice
Chaeng Wattana Road
Pak Kred, Nonthaburi 11120
Fax: +66 2 502 6734

Dear Minister of Interior
Pol. Gen. Kowit Wattana
Office of the Secretary to the Minister
Assadang Road
Pra Nakorn, Bangkok 10200
Fax: +66 2 226 4371

Your Excellencies,

As a member of Writers in Prison Committee, Norwegian PEN, I am deeply concerned by the the detention and charge against writer Harry Nicolaides.

He has been sentenced for being charged under Article 112 of the Criminal Code with ‘lèse-majesté’ (insulting the monarchy), and faces a sentence of between three and fifteen years of imprisonment. We are concerned about the detention.

The charge stems from a passage in Nicolaides’ novel Verisimilitude which is considered to be insulting to the Thai king’s eldest son. It is said that in the 300-page book, only three lines refer to the crown prince, and that he is not even mentioned by name.

On 2 September Nicolaides requested to be released on bail, but his request was denied. It is said that only fifty copies of the book were ever printed, of which seven were sold.

I seek your assurance, Your Excellency, for immediate his immediate and unconditional release in accordance with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Thailand is a state party.

Confident that you, Your Excellency, will take action accordingly, I remain,

Yours sincerely,

Trine Kleven
Member of Writers in Prison Committee, Norwegian PEN

The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Oslo

Thailand Embassy in Norway
Eilert Sundts gate 4
0244 Oslo
Tlf: 22 12 86 60
Faks: 22 04 99 69
E-post: thaioslo@online.no