Immediate reaction to Joe Gordon’s lese majeste conviction

8 12 2011

Media reaction to lese majeste victim Joe Gordon’s sentencing for his guilty plea on translating The King Never Smiles, a book published by Yale University Press and widely available in Thailand has been immediate and widespread. It remains unknown which parts of the book insult or defame the monarchy. As far as PPT can determine, it is an accurate account of the reign.

That the court claims he translated the book while in the United States, where Joe has citizenship, is beginning to be recognized as a threat to all visitors to Thailand. The lese majeste threat to the citizens of foreign countries from Thailand’s draconian law is worthy of consular warnings.

The U.S. embassy has made some comments: “A US official in Bangkok said Gordon should not have been jailed at all.” Consul General Elizabeth Pratt stated: “We consider the sentence severe because he was given the sentence for his right of expression…. We continue to respect the Thai monarchy but we also support the right of expression which is internationally recognised as a human right.”

Some of the reports follow:

Thai court sentences American citizen to 2.5 years in prison for defaming monarchy

Washington Post: Thailand’s lese majeste laws are the harshest in the world. They mandate that people found guilty of defaming the monarchy — including the king, the queen and the heir to the throne — face three to 15 years behind bars.

Thailand jails US man Joe Gordon for royal insult

BBC News: Thailand has jailed a US citizen for two and a half years after he admitted posting web links to a banned biography of King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Joe Gordon, a used car salesman from Colorado who was born in Thailand, admitted lese-majeste, or insulting

American gets 2.5 years in prison for defaming Thai king

Los Angeles Times: The case involving Thailand’s controversial lese majeste laws is complicated by citizenship and jurisdiction issues. The violation by Thai-born Lerpong Wichaikhammat, 55, involving an Internet posting deemed disrespectful, was written several years ago

American sentenced to 2 years for Thai royal insult

USA Today: Gordon was detained in late May during a visit to Thailand, where he had returned for medical treatment. After being repeatedly denied bail, he pleaded guilty in October in hopes of obtaining a lenient sentence. Thailand’s lese majeste laws are the

Joe Gordon jailed for lese majeste

Bangkok Post: The Criminal Court has sentenced Thai-born US citizen Joe Gordon to two years and six months imprisonment for lese majeste under Section 112 of the Criminal Code. The court ininiatially sentenced Gordon, a used car salesman from Colorado, to five years

US Citizen to Serve Jail Sentence for Insulting Thai King

BusinessWeek: Thailand’s constitution says the king “shall be enthroned in a position of revered worship and shall not be violated.” The lese-majeste law makes it a criminal offense to defame, insult or threaten the king, queen, heir apparent or regent. …

US citizen jailed for Thai royal insult

News24: Under Thailand’s lèse-majesté legislation, anyone convicted of insulting the king, queen, heir or regent faces up to 15 years in prison on each count. A US official said Gordon should not have been jailed at all. “We consider the sentence severe

US citizen jailed for insulting Thai monarchy

Reuters India: Thailand has the world’s toughest lese-majeste laws protecting its monarch. The number of cases has jumped in recent years and sentences have become harsher, coinciding with a period of political turbulence in the country. Lerpong’s lawyer, Anon Nampa,

Thai American man found guilty of lese majeste

The Nation: Thai American Lerpong was guilty for posting his translation on the excerpts from a banned book, “The King Never Smiles” on the Internet. His posting was done under the pseudonym of Sin Sae Jiew. The book was written by American journalist Paul Handley

US blogger jailed for insulting Thai king

Aljazeera.com: He was arrested in May when he visited Thailand for medical treatment. He initially denied the charges, but said he changed his plea to guilty after being repeatedly refused bail. The US has expressed concern over the use of Thailand’s lese-majeste law

American gets 2.5 years for insulting Thai monarchy

CNN: according to the Asian Human Rights Commission. He had been detained without bail since then. Thailand’s lese majeste laws are among the toughest in the world, stipulating punishment for anyone defaming, insulting or threatening the royal family.


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