Bail Granted, Bail Denied
Late last month, Joe Gordon, a Thai-American citizen, was again denied bail on charges relating to lese-majeste and the Computer Crimes Act (CCA). The decision marks the seventh and final appeal for bail during the period of his pre-trial incarceration.
In its decision, the Court would note that their decision would serve to prevent Joe or others from "tamper(ing) with the (electronic) evidence," given his alleged crime had "so affected the minds of those who are loyal to the monarchy."
The Court would write that:
"The court has considered and deemed that, this accusation is against the monarchy which is in relevance to national security, and according to such case, it has brought defamation to the monarchy which is highly revered among Thai people, and so affected the minds of those who are loyal to the monarchy. The investigation officer also opposed that, if the court release the accused temporarily, he might tamper with the evidence which is electronic evidence. Since there’s no proper justification for temporary release, the court denies the appeal." (29 June 2011)
The decision reflects concerns noted by the Court in the first of Mr. Gordon's pre-trial appeals, where in May the Court said that the alleged crimes were "a serious case concerning national security, and that the accused may tamper with evidence." The Department of Special Investigations (DSI) had alleged that Mr. Gordon owns a blog which offers a link to download 'The King Never Smiles', a book banned in Thailand.
Earlier this week, the Criminal Court granted bail to Norawase Yospiyasathien, a recent graduate of Kasetsart University who had been arrested and charged, like Joe Gordon, with offenses pertaining to Article 112 of the Criminal Code (lese-majeste) and the 2007 Computer Crimes Act.
At the Court hearings, both families were able to offer the Court land deeds in lieu of bail, worth 1.7 million baht (Joe Gordon) and 860,000 baht (Norawase Yospiyasathien), respectively.
As a result, it remains unclear as to the judicial precedence of the provision or denial of bail in cases pertaining to lese-majeste.
Yesterday, defense lawyer Anon Nampa would post Joe Gordon's message on his blog which again calls for his release.
” S.O.S : Please do something to free Joe Gordon out of jail in Bangkok, Thailand . Do not allow the Lese majesty Law in Third world country, that violates humman rithts, abuses the American cittizen. And, don’t let this obsolete law being above the U.S. constitution. Othewise , there would not be the American’s pride and dignity left in this world . FREE JOE NOW !"
An American citizen, Joe Gordon receives regular visits from U.S. consular officials. Despite this, he remains concerned that the U.S. Government have not yet advocated strongly enough on his behalf, that he be released.
Yesterday morning, he anxiously asked if I'd heard about his letter. "I wrote a letter to Kristie Kenney (the U.S. Ambassador to Thailand), and I don't know if she's received it yet, or not," he said. "It's been about two weeks since I sent it, but I know it takes a while to go through the prison mail system. I've had no reply to this letter, so I don't know what they're doing about my case. I still get a regular visit but I need her to have her reply."
U.S. Embassy officials were contacted yesterday afternoon, but could not be reached for comment.