South West Wales

UK academic Wyn Ellis released from Thai detention

Swansea academic Wyn Ellis Image copyright Wyn Ellis
Image caption Wyn Ellis has described the conditions of his detention as 'obnoxious'

A British academic who was detained at a Thai airport over a dispute linked to a UN report he wrote nine years ago has been released.

Agricultural consultant Wyn Ellis, from Swansea, was held at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport on Thursday and told he had been reported as a national security threat.

He has been involved in a long-running row with a former Thai official.

The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office said the situation is now resolved.

Dr Ellis, who has been working with the UN on sustainable rice production, had believed he would be deported on Thursday after enduring what he called "obnoxious" conditions in an airport holding cell.

Before his release, Dr Ellis had told a news agency that British Ambassador to Thailand Mark Kent had phoned him to say he was "trying to do something".

Lawsuits

His detention appeared to be connected to him being blacklisted after a dispute with Thailand's former director of the country's National Innovation Agency (NIA), Supachai Lorlowhakarn.

In 2008, he accused Mr Supachai of stealing material used in a dissertation the director submitted to Bangkok's Chulalongkorn University from a study Dr Ellis had previously conducted, among other sources.

Mr Supachai filed nine lawsuits against Dr Ellis, including charges of criminal defamation, which can carry a two-year prison sentence.

Dr Ellis eventually won seven of the nine cases against him, settling two out of court, with the last heard at the Supreme Court in May 2014.

Mr Supachai had his doctorate revoked in June 2012 and, shortly after, he was convicted of forgery.

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