American Thai – A naturalized American US citizen has been arrested and jailed in Thailand for insulting the Thai monarchy on the Internet through a blog post made from the United States.
The arrest and jailing of Joe Gordon marks the first time an American citizen has been jailed for insulting the Thai monarchy which is a serious offense in the country.
Gordon received a reduced sentence of two and half years down from 5 Thursday, only after pleading guilty to the offense. The crime of insulting the Thai monarchy can be punishable by up to 15 years in prison. U.S. authorities have called sentence “severe” and expressed concern about a string of recent prosecutions involving freedom of expression. Â
Last month a 61-year-old grandfather was given 20 years for sending text messages deemed insulting to the Thai queen. Then In March an anti-government website developer was sentenced to 13 years in prison.
Gordon was arrested in May for allegedly translating parts of a locally-banned book about the Thai monarch and posting them online.
Gordon was originally born in Thailand then became a naturalized U.S. citizen and lived there for decades.
Gordon’s lawyer, Arnon Nampa, said the sentence was lower than in other cases.Â However, he says the law used to prosecute royal insults, article 112, needs to change.