Australian filmmaker back home after jail time in Cambodia

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Sydney, Sep 24 (IANS) An Australian documentary filmmaker is back home in Sydney after he was granted a Royal pardon in Cambodia for a espionage conviction, for which he was sentenced to six years in prison.

“I love Cambodia, I’ve always loved Cambodia (and) I don’t love Cambodia any less now as a result of what has happened. In fact if anything I love it more,” James Ricketson, 69, filmmaker told the media on his arrival at the airport here on Sunday night.

Ricketson, who denies the accusations, said he looks forward to going back to Cambodia soon, a country with which he has had a relationship for 20 years, and “doing all I can to help poor Cambodian families”, reports Efe news.

The documentary maker said the Australian government could have performed better during his 15 months in prison, although he avoided giving more details.

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“I do have a good story to tell but now, at the airport, is not the right time to tell it,” he said on national broadcaster ABC.

Ricketson was arrested on June 7, 2017, after he was using a drone to film a protest organised by the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), which was later dissolved in November 2017.

A Cambodian court ruled that Ricketson used his work as a documentary maker and humanitarian to gather information that could compromise the security of Cambodia.

Various organisations, including the Human Rights Watch, denounced the court ruling, saying that Ricketson was used by the Cambodian government as a scapegoat to justify the repression against the opposition.

–IANS

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