BANGKOK - AN AMERICAN has been arrested in Thailand for allegedly insulting its monarchy, a serious offence in this Southeast Asian nation punishable by up to 15 years in jail.
The US Embassy confirmed the arrest but gave few details.
The 54-year-old man arrested on Thursday created a link on his blog in 2007 to The King Never Smiles, an unauthorized biography of King Bhumibol Adulyadej that is banned in Thailand, a spokesman for the Department of Special Investigation, Thailand's equivalent of the FBI, said on Friday.
The man denies the charge against him. He was born in Thailand and lived in the US state of Colorado for 30 years and returned to Thailand last year for medical treatment.
Thailand is a constitutional monarchy but has severe lese majeste laws that mandate a jail term of three to 15 years for any person who 'defames, insults or threatens the king, the queen, the heir to the throne or the Regent.' Thai-based media routinely self-censor coverage of the royal family, but the Internet has tested the taboo. Thai authorities have responded by trying to block more than 2,000 websites.
Critics say the lese majeste laws are often a weapon of political harassment, and calls have grown recently to amend or abolish them. -- AP
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