Where’s Joe???-The Nation
July 17, 2012
LESE MAJESTY LAW
Whereabouts of Gordon unknown
The Nation: July 13, 2012
Though he has made international headlines, the whereabouts of former lese majeste convict Joe Gordon are not known and the media has not heard from him or his lawyer since he was granted a royal pardon on Tuesday afternoon and the US Embassy reportedly whisked him away.
Gordon, who holds dual Thai-US citizenship, was arrested last May and sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison in December for translating and posting excerpts from the banned book “The King Never Smiles” while in the United States. The book was written by journalist Paul Handley and published by Yale University Press.
Gordon’s lawyer, Arnon Nampa, told The Nation that he understands Gordon is being “cared for” by the US Embassy since being released on Tuesday and will be leaving for the United States soon.
“I think they want him to leave quietly. It’s a diplomatic move,” Arnon said, adding that Gordon had told him several times while in prison that he did not feel like a Thai and wanted to return to the US once out of jail.
However, there has been some speculation as to whether Gordon is being barred from speaking to the media while in Thailand in order to prevent bilateral relations from being strained.
US Embassy spokesperson Walter Braunohler said yesterday that there was a lot of “speculation” about Gordon, but the embassy “unfortunately” would neither confirm nor deny anything about his whereabouts or say anything about the speculation that he is being prevented from speaking to media out of concerns for Gordon’s privacy.
Arnon said he does not think that the 55-year-old Thai-born US citizen, who is also known as Lerpong Wichaikammat, is being restricted by the US Embassy in any way.
Asked if Gordon had been forced to confess, Arnon only said that his client had admitted to translating and uploading excerpts of the book after his request for bail had been denied eight times.