Joe Gordon still in prison-PPT
May 5, 2012
The betrayal of Joe Gordon
Political Prisoners in Thailand: May 1, 2012
Joe, an American citizen, was arrested on 26 May 2011 by the Department of Special Investigation on lese majeste, security and related computer crimes infringements. On 7 October 2011, frustrated by the continual refusal of bail and facing the prospect of a long and drawn out trial and a long period in jail (almost no one is found not guilty), Joe decided to plead guilty.
On 8 December 2011, following his guilty plea, Joe was sentenced to a two and a half year prison sentence, reduced from five for the guilty plea. When he is alleged to have insulted the monarchy, he was engaging in legal activity in the United States.
Joe reportedly stood calmly with his ankles shackled as the sentence was read out. He has remained in prison for almost 5 months since that guilty plea.
The United States Embassy and the Department of State have failed this American citizen. The latter’s human rights policies and practices are bizarre, as this post makes very clear.
Why is Joe still incarcerated? Why is the State Department publicly silent? We suspect it has something to do with the gutless advice provided some years ago by the Ambassador to the palace, PAD and privy council, Ralph “Skip” Boyce. He said: “If an AmCit were to be charged with lese majeste, it is likely that a low key approach outside the public eye would stand the best chance of success in getting him or her out of custody and out of Thailand.”
What he means is that one doesn’t rock the monarchy’s boat in a Thailand that is a trusted ally. It seems that “Skip” means skipping the duty to speak out on human rights. In our view, this poor advice is part of the reason why Joe Gordon remains incarcerated.
Joe apparently followed the advice of pleading guilty and waiting for the royal pardon that Boyce reckoned was the best way to deal with this for an “AmCit.” That the Embassy and State Department appear to be neglecting Joe adds insult to his now almost one year in jail.
PPT can’t wait to read the next State Department report in human rights to see how they deal with their abject failure on Joe’s case.
Anyone heard anything at all from Ambassador Kenney in recent months? She seemed to buckle at the first hint of controversy.