When Insult Leads to Prison
Today, U.S. citizen Joe Gordon — also known as Lerpong Wichaikhammat- was given a two-and-a -half year prison sentence by a court in Thailand. The reason: Gordon translated excerpts of a locally banned biography of the king and posted them online. Gordon has been sentenced for the fact that he had dared to defame the country's royal family, a country where the lese majeste laws are the harshest in the world. Those found guilty of defaming the monarchy- including the king, the queen, and the heir to the throne- face on average three to 15 years behind bars.
Not only does this case make you think about censorship laws, it also raises questions about the applicability of Thai law to acts committed by foreigners outside Thailand.
Now, does it make a difference that Joe Gordon is a Thai-born U.S. citizen or not? Does it matter that he had posted the links to the banned biography several years ago, while living in the U.S. state of Colorado?
I say no, it doesn't matter that Gordon was Thai-born because he is a U.S. citizen, not a citizen of Thailand. A law system that is an affront to freedom of expression should not apply to something posted in the United States, by a United States citizen.
Here you can find the article on Joe Gordon's story: http://worldnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/12/08/9291930-american-jailed-...