Chiangrai Times – The King of Thailand has granted a pardon to a US citizen who was jailed for translating a banned book about the monarch into Thai. The 55-year-old had been sentenced to two and a half years for posting excerpts online.
No reason was given for the pardon, but US officials have called for the release of Thai-born Joe Gordon since his initial detention in May 2011.
“We are pleased that His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej granted Joe Gordon a royal pardon, which allowed him to be released from prison,” said US Embassy spokesman Walter Braunohler.
“We urge Thai authorities on a regular basis, both privately and publicly, in Bangkok and in Washington, to ensure that freedom of expression is protected in accordance with its international obligations.”
Gordon was convicted and sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison in December last year, for publishing parts of the book, “The King Never Smiles,” while he was living in the US.
He was arrested on a visit to the kingdom for health purposes, and had an initial 5-year sentence halved because he pleaded guilty.
He was found guilty of lese-majesty for posting excerpts from The King Never Smiles, an unauthorized biography of King that is banned in Thailand.
Under the country’s “lese majeste” laws, anybody found guilty of insulting key figures in the royal family can be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison.