American sentenced for royal insult: 4 recent cases in Thailand

Thailand's lèse-majesté laws, which include prohibitions on posting anti-monarchy slurs online, are among the world's strictest, meriting jail terms of 3 to 15 years, and in some cases, more.

The rising number of lèse-majesté accusations comes as the reign of octogenarian King Bhumibol Adulyadej nears its end. Some worry that a crackdown could intensify as Thailand prepares for a transition.

While it's rare for foreigners to be prosecuted, they aren't exempt. Here are four high profile cases in the past decade, three of which involve foreigners:

Apichart Weerawong/AP
Thai-born American Joe Gordon gestures as he answers a reporter's question upon his arrival at a criminal court in Bangkok, Thailand, Dec. 8. The court sentenced Gordon to two and a half years in prison Thursday for defaming the country's royal family by translating excerpts of a locally banned biography of the king and posting them online.

1. The case of the online forum moderator

Chiranuch Premchaiporn, a Web manager, was accused of failing to quickly delete posts made by others on Prachatai, an online forum, in 2010.

She denied the charges and said that she cooperated with government requests to remove offensive postings.

She could face a 20-year prison sentence, but her trial has been delayed until February 2012.

Under Thailand’s cybercrime law, website administrators can be held liable for hosting illegal content, including material that undermines national security.

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