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article imageThailand jails Colorado man for royal insult

By Katerina Nikolas     Dec 8, 2011 in World
Bangkok - Thailand's strict lese-majeste laws have landed a U.S. citizen with a two-and-a-half year prison sentence for insulting the monarchy.
A car salesman from Colorado has received a prison sentence in Thailand, for insulting the world's longest serving monarch, King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Joe Gordon, 55, pleaded guilty to the charge of lese-majeste, thus reducing his five year sentence by half.
Thai born Gordon, an American citizen, visited Thailand in May seeking medical treatment. He was arrested on charges of insulting the Thai King, and has been held in prison awaiting trial.
According to the BBC Gordon had translated parts of Paul Handley's biography of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, "The King Never Smiles," into Thai, and published it online. The work was deemed to insult the monarch leaving Gordon open to charges of lese-majeste in Thailand.
Under Thai law those found guilty of royal defamation can be convicted for up to 15 years on each count. The law has been criticized for suppressing the right to free speech.
Gordon's lawyer, Arnon Nampa, said "Joe decided not to appeal this case but will ask for a royal pardon. In this case the court gave the lightest jail term for a lese majestic case. He's been in prison six months already. The worst case is two more years in jail but I hope that he'll receive a royal pardon." (Naharnet)In November Digital Journal reported the case of Ampon Tangnoppakul who was sentenced to 20 years in a Thai jail for insulting the monarchy.
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