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Australian Director James Ricketson Jailed for Spying in Cambodia

Australian documentary filmmaker James Ricketson was Friday sentenced to six years in jail in Cambodia. He was found guilty of espionage.

Ricketson has been held in prison for the past 14 months. During the seven day trial he denied the charges.

Prosecutors said that he was working with the political opposition to the country’s leader Hun Sen, and had worked with a foreign power.

On his way back to jail, after receiving the verdict, Ricketson was heard shouting “Who am I spying for?” That question was never answered in court and Ricketson repeatedly insisted that his work is not political.

“Since he arrived in Cambodia, the accused person has been collecting political, social and economic information about Cambodia and sending it to a foreign state,” prosecutor Sieng Sok said. “He has kept collecting this information for 22 years, until the day he was arrested. The accused person was using his journalism job and helping poor Cambodians just to hide his real work, but in fact he is a spy and has been filming at the sites of the country’s security forces.”

Ricketson was arrested after flying a camera-equipped drone over a rally organized by the Cambodian National Rescue Party. The CNRP was abolished on government orders last year. Prime Minister, Hun Sen’s Cambodian People’s Party in July won all 125 seats in a parliamentary election.

Australian foreign minister, Marise Payne said the Australian government will provide Ricketson with full consular assistance. “Mr Ricketson is subject to legal proceedings under Cambodian law and must now consider his response to the court’s decision using the avenues open to him.”

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