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.