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US Citizen Jailed for Insulting Thai King Freed by Royal Pardon

Joe Gordon, 54-year-old Thai-American citizen, was charged with lese majeste, or insulting the monarchy arrives at Bangkok Criminal Court October 10, 2011.
A U.S. man who was sentenced to 30 months in a Thai prison for insulting the king has been freed by a royal pardon.

Joe Gordon was convicted in December for translating parts of a locally banned biography about King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

U.S. Embassy spokesperson Walter Braunohler said he does not know the reason for Gordon's release, but said he was pleased with the news. "We urge Thai authorities on a regular basis, both privately and publicly, here in Bangkok and also in Washington to ensure that freedom of expression is protected in accordance with international obligations," he said.

Under Thailand's harsh lese majeste laws, anyone convicted of insulting the monarchy faces up to 15 years in prison.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.