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Jailed Australian Writer Freed in Thailand

An Australian writer sentenced to three years in a Thai prison returned home Saturday after receiving a pardon from the Thai royal family.
Harry Nicolaides, 41, was imprisoned in January for allegedly defaming a Thai monarch in a fictional book, "Verisimilitude," that he wrote in 2005.
The passage in question, which made reference to an unnamed crown prince, was deemed dishonorable to the Thai royal family.
Only seven of the 50 printed copies of Nicolaides's book were ever sold.
Nicolaides's release came at the urging of the Australian government, which fervently lobbied the Thai government for an official pardon.
According to an AP correspondent, the case had been widely publicized in Australia, where shocking prison photos of Nicolaides were circulated on television.
Upon his release, Nicolaides learned that his mother had suffered a stroke during his imprisonment. His father told reporters that they would immediately visit her in the hospital upon leaving the airport.