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Old 14-06-17, 16:10   #1
 
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New Zealand Australian Film-Maker Charged with Espionage in Cambodia

Australian Veteran Filmmaker Charged with Espionage in Cambodia Faces up to Ten Years in Prison After Being Accused of 'Collecting Information That Would Endanger National Security'

  • James Ricketson, 68, has been filming a documentary in Cambodia since 2013
  • He was caught without legal documents in the country and arrested
  • Ricketson was charged with espionage which carries a five to ten year sentence
  • The Australian consulate is aware of his case and is involved

Daily Mail/AP, 14 June 2017 . Australia.

An Australian filmmaker has been sent to a Cambodian prison to await trial over allegations he collected information prejudicial to the country's national security, a court official says.
James Ricketson, 68, was arrested on Saturday, and has been the subject of conflicting reports since then - with some linking his detention to flying a drone, and others to living in the Southeast Asian nation without proper documentation.
On Friday afternoon he faced court in the capital Phnom Penh and was officially charged with 'collecting information prejudicial to national security.'






James Ricketson, 68, was arrested on Saturday, and has been the subject of conflicting reports since then - with some linking his detention to flying a drone, and others to living in the Southeast Asian nation without proper documentation



The offence includes collecting or receiving information with a view to supplying them to a 'foreign state or its agents.'
It carries a penalty of five to 10 years imprisonment.

He was sent to Prey Sar prison in the capital for 'pretrial detention', court spokesman Y Rin said.
Just why Mr Ricketson has been charged with this offence, however, remains unclear.





The offence includes collecting or receiving information with a view to supplying them to a 'foreign state or its agents' (pictured Cambodia)



Lou Rabo, deputy municipal police chief in charge of immigration, said Mr Ricketson was arrested on Saturday at Phnom Penh's riverside during random checks on foreigners.

'We asked him regarding the legal documents. He didn't have it and he didn't respond about where he lives. Under questioning, he didn't reply, meaning he was living in our country illegally, therefore we took him to the office,' Mr Rabo told AAP.
'First we found out his crime that he doesn't have legal documents and after further investigation, he was found with a different crime. It is normal.'





'First we found out his crime that he doesn't have legal documents and after further investigation, he was found with a different crime. It is normal' (pictured Cambodia)



The deputy police chief also rejected reports his initial arrest was connected with flying a drone over supporters of the country's main opposition political party Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP).

The government-affiliated website, Fresh News, reported Mr Ricketson was arrested for allegedly spying and entering 'Cambodia to conduct the act of stealing information in order to publish it overseas without permission from authorities'.

According to his blog, Mr Ricketson has been making films since the 1970s, and has recently been in a long-running dispute with Screen Australia.





Lou Rabo, deputy municipal police chief in charge of immigration, said Mr Ricketson (pictured) was arrested on Saturday at Phnom Penh's riverside during random checks on foreigners



He has been an outspoken critic of the Cambodian government, describing it as a 'dictatorship' on his Facebook page.

In 2014, he was fined $2,000 and given a two-year suspended sentence for defamation, over a dispute with a Brisbane church working in Cambodia.

In December, Mr Ricketson was ordered to pay $4,900 in fines and compensation for defaming anti-paedophile organisation Action Pour Les Enfants.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said it is providing consular assistance to an Australian man detained in Cambodia.

It is expected Mr Ricketson will not face court for several months.
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