American Thai man sentenced to prison for royal book

Dec 9, 2011, 11:37 by R.E. Christian

A Bangkok court Thursday sentenced a Thai-born U.S. national to 30 months in jail for posting online an unauthorized biography of Thailand's king.

Joe Gordon, 55, a Colorado car salesman, was sentenced to five years in prison under the country's strict lese majeste laws, but the court reduced the sentence by half after he pleaded guilty to posting online the banned biography of Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the Thai News Agency reported.

The king is highly revered in the Buddhist country where there are strict laws against any insult to the monarchy.

Gordon was also accused of posting a link on his blog to the banned book in 2007. The report said Gordon was detained in May while visiting Thailand for medical treatment and his requests for bail repeatedly were rejected.

His lawyer said his client had decided not to appeal his sentence in the hope of obtaining a royal pardon, TNA reported.

The king has pardoned foreigners in similar cases in the past, CNN reported.

Separately, TNA reported about 12,000 Thai prisoners were released Thursday after receiving royal pardons on the occasion of the king's 84th birthday. Under the same program, 10,000 more prisoners are set to be released later this month, the report said.

Source: UPI