It's obviously a relief that Thailand pardoned Joe Gordon, a U.S. citizen who translated parts of a banned biography, The King Never Smiles, about Thailand’s King Bhumibol on his blog. But there's the startling fact that he still spent the past 13 months of his life in Thai custody. "No reason for the pardon was immediately given," reports MSNBC.com's Ploy Bunlueslip, while the Free Joe Gordon campaign website reads, "After over 13 months, Joe Gordon's ordeal is over. Joe's lawyer Arnon Numpa says the royal pardon was granted Tuesday. U.S. Embassy spokesman Walter Braunohler says Gordon was freed that night."
If you recall, Thai police arrested Gordon while he visiting the country in May, for translating parts of a banned biography on the monarch on his blog, which he composed while he was on American soil. Harsh right? Well the Thai law of lèse-majesté, insulting the Thai monarchy, basically lets the Thai government ignore freedom of speech (which Gordon enjoyed in the U.S.), and jail monarchy-insulters when they enter the country. Unlike other monarchy mockers, like the late text-messaging grandpa who died in prison while serving a jail sentence for insulting the Thai queen via text message, Gordon luckily had the U.S. pushing for his release since his arrest last year.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to email@example.com.