Man pardoned for insulting Thai monarchy

An Australian author who was jailed in Thailand for defaming the country's monarchy in a novel that sold just seven copies was granted a royal pardon, his family said Saturday. Socrates Nicolaides told The Associated Press he found out Saturday morning that his son, Harry Nicolaides, had been granted a royal pardon and was on his way home to Melbourne, Australia's second-largest city. His lawyer, Mark Dean, told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio the pardon was granted on Thursday night and Nicolaides was deported from Thailand at midnight Friday. In January, Bangkok's Criminal Court sentenced Nicolaides to three years in prison for insulting the king and crown prince in a self-published 2005 book "Verisimilitude." The court said a passage about the book's fictional prince caused "dishonor" to the royal family and suggested an "abuse of royal power."