Paris Peace Accords 23 Oct. 1991

Friday, January 5, 2018

Australian filmmaker arrested in Cambodia due to 'opposition party links'

Australian filkmmaker James Ricketson is led into a court in a Phnom Penh.
Australian filkmmaker James Ricketson is led into a court in a Phnom Penh. Photo: Fresh News Cambodia

Australian filmmaker arrested 

in Cambodia due to 

'opposition party links'

Sydney Morning Herald | 5 January 2018

Bangkok: Cambodian authorities are investigating Australian filmmaker James Ricketson over his alleged links to the country's now-disbanded opposition party, which has been accused of attempting to overthrow strongman Hun Sen in a purported United States-backed conspiracy.
"It is because of his relations with the opposition party, that's why he got into trouble," Sourng Sopheaktra, one of Ricketson's lawyers, told the Phnom Penh Post.
Initial reports said Ricketson, 69, was arrested after flying a drone over a rally on Phnom Penh's riverfront staged by the opposition Cambodian National Rescue Party in June. He is accused of spying against the government.
The opposition party's leaders have been jailed, are in hiding or have fled the country in a sweeping crackdown on opponents of Hun Sen ahead of elections scheduled for mid-year.
Analysts say the supposed conspiracy has provided Hun Sen, one of the world's most notorious autocrats, with an excuse to target his political opponents as he shrugs off any pretence of democracy in the country where Australia has a deal to send refugees from Nauru.
Opposition figures and the US have strongly denied involvement in any conspiracy.
Sopheaktra said authorities have searched e-mails and other documents on Ricketson's computer, phones and other electronic devices that were seized from his hotel room and they are still being translated into the Khmer language.
He said a preliminary document produced by prosecutors at a pre-trial hearing alleged Ricketson had contact with many people in the opposition party.
A prolific letter writer and blogger, Ricketson, an award winning documentary maker from Sydney, had tens of thousands of e-mails on his computer.
He is was a familiar figure over years at opposition and protest rallies in Phnom Penh, where he has been filming a documentary on a former street beggar he has supported for decades.
Ricketson has told a court hearing he came to Cambodia "to help poor people and make films, not to be a spy".
For years he has supported scavengers at a rubbish dump on the outskirts of Phnom Penh.

Ricketson has been held in pre-trial detention since June in Prey Sar, one of Cambodia's notoriously harsh jails, as he protests his innocence.
"I am still confused as to what I have done other than flying a drone without a permit to deserve such punishment," Ricketson wrote from a cell he is sharing with 27 other prisoners.
The circumstances of his arrest and detention have been murky. Officials said he has been accused of spying "for a foreign state or agents" but provided no further details.
Fresh News, a pro-government news site, accused Ricketson of being an "important spy" and linked him to the supposed plot to overthrow Hun Sen that allegedly involved opposition leaders, staff of non-government-oranisations, US embassy officials and journalists.
Support for Ricketson is growing in Australia where thousands of people have signed a petition calling for his release and criticising the Turnbull government for failing to intervene in his case.
Australian journalist Peter Greste, a press freedom advocate who was jailed along with two other Al Jazeera journalists in Egypt, has thrown his support behind the campaign.
Greste tweeted to his 50,000 followers: "Help free another journalist in prison on national security charges. No evidence that James Ricketson in Cambodia is guilty of anything other than caring."
Until recently Mr Ricketson's supporters have largely kept quiet about his incarceration, hoping lawyers and Australian officials could secure his release from a legal system where the judges mostly deliver verdicts favouring the government.
Ricketson is scheduled to appear in a Cambodian court on January 10 to hear the outcome of an appeal against the refusal of authorities to grant him bail. He may also be brought back to court next week for further pre-trial questioning.
People who know Mr Ricketson say any suggestion he is was spying is ludicrous. They fear Ricketson, who is suffering un-medicated high blood and other ailments, will die in jail before the completion of his trial, which could take years.
He could face up to 10 years jail if convicted of espionage.
The Turnbull government is providing consular assistance but insists it cannot intervene in any foreign country to attempt to obtain the release of a jailed Australian.


  1. Anonymous10:45 AM

    Ricketson has told a court hearing he came to Cambodia "to help poor people and make films, not to be a spy".
    I saw CNRP standing next to him when he operated a drone. Put him in jail for a long time to teach him some lesson.

    I would not fly any drone, do anything unusual in a third-world country. They would use any excuse to make money out of me. And I would definitely stay away from politics. Politics is dirty and in a third-world country, it's 10 times more dirty.

    Just look at the infighting between Kem Sokha and Scam Rainsy's factions and you can see how dirty and infantile it would get.

    1. Anonymous10:28 PM

      Ah stupid doo meh mey yuon troll at 10:45 AM!
      Just stick with what you are good at “sucking the BLACK men's cock.”
      You don't know shit beyond that.