Shackled U.S. citizen faces 15 years in jail after admitting online insult to Thai royal family
(DAILY MAIL) A shackled U.S. citizen pleaded guilty today to charges of defaming Thailand’s royal family – a grave crime in the south-east Asian kingdom that is punishable by up to 15 years in jail.
Thai-born American Joe Gordon has been detained since late May for translating excerpts of a locally banned biography of King Bhumibol Adulyadej and posting them online.
Judges said that a sentence would be issued on November 9 for Gordon, who committed the alleged crimes years ago while living in the U.S. state of Colorado, where he worked as a car salesman.
The case has raised concerns about the reach of Thai law and how it is applied to both Thai nationals and foreign visitors.
Thailand has the most severe lese-majesty (crimes against sovereigns) laws in the world, and critics say they have been increasingly abused by political rivals to harass opponents.