A Thai with American citizenship arrested for lèse majesté and denied bail
Joe Gordon, 54, has been arrested by the Department of Special Investigation in Nakhon Ratchasima for lèse majesté and computer crimes. The DSI alleges that he owns a blog which offers a link to download The King Never Smiles.
Over 20 DSI officials arrested him at his house in Nakhon Ratchasima on 24 May at about 10 am, seized his desktop computer and mobile phone, and took him to DSI headquarters in Bangkok for interrogation.
He has been charged by the DSI with lèse majesté, inciting unrest and disobedience of the law in public, and disseminating computer data which threatens national security.
On 26 May, the DSI brought Gordon, his Thai name withheld at his request, to the Criminal Court to ask for him to be remanded.
The DSI considers that this is an important case, as it believes that he is ‘Nai Sin Sae Jew (นายสิน แซ่จิ้ว)’, the owner of a blog, which was created in the USA in 2007 and has a link to download the banned book The King Never Smiles.
Gordon denied all charges and contacted the US Embassy.
His friends brought a land title deed worth over 1.7 million baht to place as a bail guarantee, but, in response to objections from the DSI, the court denied bail, citing that this was a serious case concerning national security, and that the accused might tamper with evidence.
He was then sent to Bangkok Remand Prison.
According to Gordon, he lived in Colorado, USA, for over 30 years, and has acquired American citizenship. He returned to Thailand over a year ago to receive medical treatment for high blood pressure and gout.
He said that he had never thought of returning to Thailand, but due to his illness and the death of his wife who had died from cancer, he decided to come back to receive treatment in his hometown.
During his stay in Nakhon Ratchasima, he taught English to children. He said that the authorities had sent a young man to study with him as a spy. They, however, never discussed politics, he said.
An official from the US Embassy has visited him at the prison, and told him that the embassy will try to help him as much as possible.