US consular official Elizabeth Pratt told reporters outside the court “we continue to have full support for the Thai monarchy, but will also continue to support the right to freedom of expression which is an international human right.” She added that Gordon will continue to get consular assistance as a US citizen.
Gordon lived in Colorado for some 30 years before returning to Thailand two years ago for medical treatment. He was arrested last May for posting a translation of a banned biography of Thailand's monarch, "The King Never Smiles," online from his US blog. Though the book is proscribed in Thailand, it occupies a prominent place in airport bookstores in Phnom Penh, Singapore, and elsewhere in the region.
Gordon's sentence comes soon after 61-year-old grandfather Ampon Tangnoppakul was sentenced to 20 years jail over four "sms" texts deemed to be offensive to Thailand's Queen Sirikit.
A public demonstration seeking Mr. Ampon's release is planned for central Bangkok on Dec. 10, and the sentence has raised eyebrows even among people who support the monarchy and the law as it is.
Ampon's wife, Rossamarin, told this correspondent that “my husband and lawyer have not yet decided to appeal or not.” Gordon will not appeal his much shorter sentence, but hopes for a pardon from Thailand's king, who has himself previously said that he is not above criticism.
"Our society needs to have a real constructive debate about the law, as otherwise you can have a situation where people can be jailed without fair trials. The king himself has said it is not healthy for society for people to be prosecuting each other," says Surat Horachaikul, a professor at Bangkok's Chulalongkorn University.