Taken from the original article:
BANGKOK - A court in Thailand sentenced a U.S. citizen 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.
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.
This situation presents us with multiple critical points, most notably the freedom of speech issue at hand. But as I was reading this article, I wasn't truly focused on that.
The man in question is an American citizen. He's lived on US soil for 30 years and he committed the so-called "crime" on US soil. Undoubtedly his actions angered the Thai government, but do their laws extend to this amount? Do they have the right to punish someone for a crime they committed in the United States (that isn't a crime over here)?
I don't think so. I don't believe any government has the right to extend their laws to other nations. If a South African citizen murdered another South African citizen in Cape Town would the United States sentence the person to death? No! South Africa would do that. Even then, that situation is different from the actual one, because the US doesn't limit freedom of speech.
A bit later in the article, the author mentioned that the Thai government called everyone in the world that "liked" a status that insults the Thai monarchy is committing a crime. I don't care if they enforce that rule within their own borders (like China's internet wall) but their laws certainly should not apply to me, sitting in my room in the USA. No one government should have control over the entire internet, just like no one government should have control over the entire world. It seems to me that the Thai's are doing exactly that: trying to restrict freedom of speech across the planet and internet.
So tell me what you think: do the Thai government's laws extend to a crime committed on US soil? Why or why not?