American Gets 2.5 Years for Insulting Thai Monarchy

Joe Gordon, a 55-year-old American citizen, was sentenced to serve 2.5 years behind bars for insulting Thailand’s royal family, media in Thailand reported. He translated and posted online selections from a biography about the Thai Monarch, while the book is banned in the country. The Thai-born Gordon was taken into custody when he visited Thailand in May this year. Two years ago he posted excerpts from the book on his blog.

American Jailed Thai Monarchy

Gordon, who lives in Colorado, was sentenced to five years in jail but after pleading before a local court the judge cut his sentence to 30 months in prison. U.S. Consul General Elizabeth Pratt told journalists that this is a severe punishment, while Gordon’s attorney, Arnon Nampa, commented that local citizens get more severe sentences in similar cases. Nampa intends to ask for a royal pardon for his client instead of appealing the court sentence.

The biography of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, titled “The King Never Smiles,” claims that the Thai monarch has prevented the country from developing a true democracy. Insulting the monarchy in Thailand is punishable by up to 15 years in prison. An elderly Thai man was sentenced to 20 years in jail in November only for sending four messages considered to be insulting to the queen.


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