AP Interview: American jailed for insulting Thailand's king says law holds country back

A Thai-born American says a law that saw him jailed for insulting Thailand's king is holding back the country's democratic development. He says he won't return to Thailand until it stops being so "thin-skinned" and allows full freedom of expression.

Joe Gordon was convicted last year of translating an unauthorized biography of the king. While he now denies committing any crime, Gordon pleaded guilty and was jailed before receiving a royal pardon.

He says Thailand needs to get rid of its lese majeste law if it "wants to move forward to catch up with globalization."

Thailand's lese majeste laws are the harshest in the world. They mandate that people found guilty of defaming the monarchy face three to 15 years behind bars.

Gordon left Thailand on Thursday.