American jailed for insulting Thai king

December 8, 2011

The Criminal Court sentenced Joe Wichai Commart Gordon, also known as Lerpong, to five years in prison, but halved the term as the car salesman from Colorado pled guilty to publishing online an unauthorised biography of the Thai monarch, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, that he translated into Thai. He was found guilty of Thailand’s lese majeste law and illegal computer acts. Mr Gordon also posted a link on his blog to the banned book “The King Never Smiles” by Paul Handley.

The 55-year-old Thai-born American, using the pen name of Sin Sae Jew, claimed to be translator of the banned book and confessed during his trial that he posted the Thai translation on a website from Nov 2, 2007 to May 24, 2008. Mr Gordon has lived in the US for 30 years. He was detained in late May while visiting Thailand for medical treatment. After his bail requests were repeatedly rejected, he pled guilty in October in hopes of obtaining a lighter jail term. The Thai-American’s lawyer told reporters that his client decided not to appeal but would later seek a royal pardon.

Sources: MCOT & AP

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