An American sentenced to two and a half years in Thai prison for translating a banned biography about the country’s king and posting the content online has been freed by a royal pardon, the U.S. Embassy said Wednesday.
Joe Gordon was convicted in December for translating excerpts of the book “The King Never Smiles” from English into Thai. The punishment was a high-profile example of the severe sentences meted out here for defaming Thailand’s royal family, an issue that has raised concern about freedom of expression in this Southeast Asian kingdom.
No reason was given for the pardon, but U.S. officials have pressed Thai authorities to release the Thai-born American since he was first detained in May 2011. Gordon was freed from Bangkok’s Remand prison late Tuesday, U.S. Embassy spokesman Walter Braunohler said.
— From wire reports