Harry Nicolaides hopes for royal pardon

Waiting for His Majesty

Waiting for His Majesty

Latest newspaper report about Harry Nicolaides:

THE stress can be seen in Harry Nicolaides’ gaunt face as he leans towards the barred prison window and speaks of his hopes and fears.

“I am so jaded, so cynical,” says the Melbourne writer, hunching his shoulders. “I am placing my faith in my family, my girlfriend, the Australian Government and the reputation of the Thai king. The Australian Government is supporting a pardon for me. But I am gun-shy at the moment. It’s all so opaque.”

Sentenced on Monday to three years’ jail for writing three sentences about the Thai royal family in a novel that sold fewer than 10 copies, Nicolaides, 41, can now only hope for a pardon from Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej. There is no guarantee he will get one.

Read the rest in Australia’s The Age.

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  1. cymast

     /  January 27, 2009

    This is encouraging. Thanks for posting the latest on this case.

    I wonder if his expose of the child sex abuse industry in Thailand is deliberately being kept out of the updates(s) in hopes that the Thai officials will be appeased.

    I drafted a letter synopsizing Nicolaides’ case and the evils of the child sex abuse industry to send to dozens of officials around the world, but now I’m wondering if the contents of the letter could in any way possibly have a negative impact on his case. I think should separate Nicolaides from his expose at this point.

  2. acilius

     /  January 27, 2009

    I’d send that letter to American officials, but not to Thai officials. The Americans might possibly put in a word with the Thai ambassador if there’s some public demand for them to do so, but the Thais wouldn’t respond well to public pressure.

  3. cymast

     /  January 27, 2009

    Good advice, thanks.

  4. cymast

     /  January 27, 2009

    I’m wondering if the Thailand royalty is expected to comment on this case in a timely manner or if this will be “wait and see.” I could edit my letter to U.S. officials to read “As of January 28, 2009 . . ” I want to make sure I do this the right way.

  5. acilius

     /  January 27, 2009

    I doubt anything will change before April. That’s the date that keeps coming up as a goal.

    There’s a paradox here. The more public attention the case receives, the less likely the Thais would be to lend a sympathetic ear to western officials lobbying on behalf of Harry Nicolaides. But the less public attention the case receives, the less likely western officials would be to lobby on behalf of Harry Nicolaides.

  6. cymast

     /  January 28, 2009

    Yes, and it’s frustrating. I want to do what I can to possibly help Nicolaides and do what I can to possibly help the children. But in order to help Nicolaides in the first place, it looks like the Nicolaides case will have to be resolved before the children can be addressed. This is my personal reasoning: any attention the children get will be detrimental to Nicolaides’ freedom. It’s gut-wrenching. How can I know about this and do nothing? What if I had been taken as a child? Wouldn’t I be screaming for help every day? What if a child I knew had been taken? I wonder if anything I do regarding this could make one whit of difference anyway.

    So now I’m wondering about the timing of a letter to the U.S. Ambassador to Thailand. Before April? After April? I don’t know how diplomacy works in cases like this.

  7. acilius

     /  January 28, 2009

    I don’t think there’s any harm in a letter to the US ambassador to Thailand. Ambassador John has extensive diplomatic experience, and I’m sure he would have the knowledge to handle a delicate matter like this.

    Now, a letter to the Thai ambassador to the USA, that would be a very different matter. Not that he isn’t a seasoned diplomat, but if he gets a bunch of letters from irate Americans accusing his king’s government of complicity in the binding, rape, and torture of thousands of children worldwide, he may see it as his responsibility to defend his king’s good name and his country’s by denying that any such thing is going on.

    Good point about the frustrating nature of it. If the choice were either to help the children or to help Harry Nicolaides, well that would be easy- people survive three year sentences in Thai prisons all the time, and if Harry Nicolaides was intrepid enough to get the story in the first place, he should be able to be one of those people. But I think we have to help Harry Nicolaides in order to help the children.

  8. cymast

     /  January 28, 2009

    Thank you for the links.

    I wrote a letter- focusing solely on Nicolaides- to Ambassador John in Thailand. I’m taking it to the post office tomorrow. I wonder if John’s mail is censored.

    ” . . I think we have to help Harry Nicolaides in order to help the children.” That is my gut feeling too.

  9. acilius

     /  January 28, 2009

    You’re welcome!

    I’m sure the Thais don’t censor Ambassador John’s mail. Letters to ambassadors typically travel by diplomatic pouch. A host country has no authority to open a diplomatic pouch. Thailand is a very close ally of the USA; it’s hard to imagine that the Thai authorities would be tempted to tamper with the American ambassador’s mail. So I’m sure someone on his staff will see your letter. What sort of filtering of the ambassador’s mail his staff does, that I don’t know.

    Big news organizations occasionally do stories about sex tourists in southeast Asia. I’ve never made an effort to follow such stories, but as far as I can tell Harry Nicolaides’ report was the first one to name Tachilek and to identify it as a hub of the international trade in child pornography.

    The reason I think that Harry Nicolaides’ fate matters so much is that there are only a few big news organizations and they can only cover so many stories at a time. If in addition to CBS News sending a unit to Thailand once every three or four years we also have a great many freelance reporters like Harry Nicolaides who are at liberty to roam about the region, we will be far more likely to find out the truth about what is going on there. Leave Nicolaides in prison, and there go the freelancers. All the bad guys will have to do to stay out of public view is get advance notice every time one of the media elephants comes stomping into town.

  10. acilius

     /  January 28, 2009

    The last paragraph of comment 9 above looked like something I should have said before- so I copied it to the “Harry Nicolaides” page.

  11. cymast

     /  January 28, 2009


    1. Free Nicolaides.

    2. Free the children.

  12. acilius

     /  January 28, 2009

    I’ll vote for that.

  13. cymast

     /  January 30, 2009

    I deliberated and then sent letters to a few elected officials, including Kerry and Kennedy, as well as Ambassador John. In the letters to Obama and the officials, I included Ambassador John’s address and the embassy contact web address.

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