6 years jail for Australian for espionage in Cambodia

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Phnom Penh, Aug 31 (IANS) A Cambodian court on Friday convicted Australian filmmaker James Ricketson of spying and sentenced him to six years in prison.

Ricketson, 69, was arrested on June 3, 2017 in Phnom Penh while flying a drone illegally to capture images of a rally by the court-dissolved opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Xinhua news agency reported.

He was charged with collecting information which could endanger Cambodia’s national security with the intent to pass it on to foreign entities.

Evidences against Ricketson included his emails to former CNRP leader Sam Rainsy on an anti-government strategy. His letter to then-Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull urging him to cancel Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen’s visit to Australia.

He had also taken photos of the Cambodian Armed Forces on duty.

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The prosecutor said Ricketson’s humanitarian work with poor children in Cambodia for over 20 years was just a front to disguise his gathering information on Cambodia’s national security.

The verdict said the convict will have a month to appeal the sentence.

Ricketson said he still did not know which country he was supposed to be spying for.

–IANS

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