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World Briefing / Australia

Author in Thai insult case freed

February 21, 2009|Times Wire Reports

An Australian author imprisoned last month for insulting Thailand's crown prince in a little-read 2005 novel has been freed, the Australian government said today.

The case against Harry Nicolaides, 41, who received a three-year term, was one of a slew of investigations involving lese-majeste, or insulting the monarchy, that rights groups say are stifling freedom of speech and political dissent.

Lese-majeste is a serious offense in Thailand, where many people regard King Bhumibol Adulyadej, 81, as semi-divine.

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