Joe Gordon is a 55-year-old retired car salesman from Colorado. On Thursday, Gordon was sentenced by a Thai court to 2.5 years in prison. His crime was astonishingly non-existent.
While in Colorado, Gordon — who was born in Thailand and speaks fluent Thai — posted some translated-to-Thai excerpts to his blog from an unauthorized biography of King Bhumibol Adulyadej called The King Never Smiles, published by Yale University Press. The book was banned by the Thai government, because it dares to criticize the 84-year-old monarch as having been "a stumbling block to...progress."
Gordon was taken into police custody on a return trip to Thailand in May. He was repeatedly denied bail, and eventually pled guilty in October in the hopes the courts would give him a lenient sentence. And they say they did: The maximum sentence for citizens found guilty of defaming the monarchy, including the king, the queen, and the heir to the throne, is 15 years. [AP, Photo via Getty]