Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Australian journo publishes emails with Ricketson

Australian journo publishes emails with Ricketson

Australian filmmaker James Ricketson is taken away from the Phnom Penh Municipal Court in a prison transport vehicle earlier this month.
Australian filmmaker James Ricketson is taken away from the Phnom Penh Municipal Court in a prison transport vehicle earlier this month. Pha Lina

Australian journo publishes emails with Ricketson

An Australian journalist who received emails from accused spy and filmmaker James Ricketson has published parts of the exchange, adding weight to claims that evidence put forward in the case of “espionage” appears to be lacking in substance.

Sydney Morning Herald Southeast Asia correspondent Lindsay Murdoch yesterday published an article about Ricketson’s emails being probed at Phnom Penh Municipal Court. One of those emails was an exchange between Murdoch and Ricketson.

The emails, seen by The Post yesterday, are from November 2015, soon after an arrest warrant for then-opposition leader Sam Rainsy was issued. Rainsy, abroad in South Korea at the time, has not returned to the Kingdom and has been in self-imposed exile ever since.

The exchange starts on November 13, with Ricketson writing to Rainsy through his wife Saumura’s email account:

“I have just heard on the journalist grapevine is that a warrant for your arrest has been issued. If this is true, I am here in Phnom Penh to cover anything and everything,” Ricketson wrote.

Rainsy responds: “Thanks. We just arrived in Seoul this evening, back to PP on 16 November only.”

Ricketson replies: “I will come to airport. What time do you arrive?”

On November 15, Ricketson forwarded that email thread to Murdoch, who also reported receiving an email from Ricketson that same day reading: “I suspect that Rainsy will try to get back into the country in such a way as to foil would-be arrest party. Will keep you posted.”

Writing in the Sydney Morning Herald yesterday, Murdoch described the emails as “routine” for journalists.

“As I was in Bangkok and Ricketson was in Phnom Penh, the exchange was a routine swapping of information among journalists intending to cover Rainsy’s return,” he wrote.

Murdoch is the latest to try to debunk the alleged “espionage” contained in the emails, with several other journalists whose emails have reportedly been discussed in court having told The Post the exchanges were innocuous. If convicted, Ricketson faces up to 10 years in prison.

Yesterday, Ricketson’s lawyer Pueng Yok Hiep said her client was questioned about a further 10 emails at court on Monday, the bulk of which were written to friends and journalists.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen to ‘step down’ if he loses Sam Rainsy bet over Kem Sokha

    Hun Sen has promised to step down as prime minister while opposition figure Sam Rainsy pledges to turn himself in as forfeits if the long-term political rivals lose a “bet” over the future of former opposition leader Kem Sokha, who is on bail awaiting trial

  • UAE prince seeks to invest in Cambodia

    The UAE has expressed interest in Cambodian oil and gas exploration. Minister of Mines and Energy Suy Sem said this was the result of his discussions with Sheikh Ahmed bin Dalmook bin Juma al-Maktoum, a member of the royal family who visited him on Wednesday.

  • Smith calls for ‘release’ of Sokha as visit ends

    At a press conference to conclude her 11-day visit to Cambodia, UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Cambodia Rhona Smith on Thursday called for treason charges against former opposition leader Kem Sokha to be dropped and for him to be released from “restricted detention”.

  • PM denies ‘nepotism’ claims

    Prime minister Hun Sen denied on Thursday that nepotism was involved in the recent promotions of the children of senior government officials. He said they had been “trained” and were entirely capable of carrying out their duties while being open to “punishment” like anyone else.