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American goes to prison for Thai royal insult
BANGKOK | An American who translated a banned biography of Thailand’s king and posted the content online while living in Colorado was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in a Thai prison Thursday for defaming the country’s royal family.
The verdict is the latest so-called lese majeste punishment handed down in the Southeast Asian kingdom, which has come under increasing pressure at home and abroad to reform harsh legislation that critics say is an affront to freedom of expression.
Thai-born American Joe Gordon, 55, stood calmly with his ankles shackled in an orange prison uniform as the sentence was read out at a Bangkok criminal court.
Judge Tawan Rodcharoen said the punishment, initially set at five years, was reduced because Gordon pleaded guilty in October.
Defense attorney Arnon Nampa said Gordon would not appeal but would apply for a royal pardon.
Report on bin Laden’s time in Abbottabad due in weeks
ISLAMABAD | A judicial commission investigating how Osama bin Laden lived in Pakistan undetected for years until his killing by U.S. Special Forces said Thursday it would complete its report within weeks.
“It is hoped that the recording of the evidence will be completed by the end of December and the writing of the commission report as early as possible,” retired senior Supreme Court Judge Javed Iqbal told a news conference.
The Pakistani government set up the five-member panel after Navy SEALs conducted a secret raid on a compound in the garrison city of Abbottabad on May 2, killing bin Laden and then flying off without informing Islamabad.
Parliament demanded an independent investigation into how bin Laden had been able to hide and whether there was any government or military collusion.
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