Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Filmmaker James Ricketson charged

Filmmaker James Ricketson charged

James Ricketson, 68, seen flying a drone at the CNRP rally last week in Phnom Penh. Fresh News
James Ricketson, 68, seen flying a drone at the CNRP rally last week in Phnom Penh. Fresh News

Filmmaker James Ricketson charged

Australian filmmaker James Ricketson could face up to 10 years in prison after being charged on Friday with gathering information that could jeopardise Cambodia’s national security.

Ricketson, 68, was held by police for almost a week and questioned at Phnom Penh Municipal Court for two days before the charge was laid. He was arrested on Saturday afternoon after he was seen flying a drone above an opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party election rally last week.

Court spokesman Ly Sophanna confirmed Ricketson been charged under Article 446 of the Cambodian Penal Code, which involves “receiving or collecting information, processes, objects, documents, computerised data or files, with a view to supplying them to a foreign state or its agents, which are liable to prejudice the national defence”.

It carries a prison term of five to 10 years.

The legal action against Ricketson comes amid a media clampdown ahead of the June 4 commune elections. In recent weeks and months, a court summons was issued for an RFA journalist on allegations he concealed his identity to gain an interview with politically sensitive prisoners, the National Election Committee released a code of conduct that prohibited publishing “confusing” information leading to a “loss of trust in the election”, and a court complaint was lodged against two Cambodia Daily journalists for seemingly routine reporting.

The Australian Embassy confirmed earlier this week that Ricketson was receiving consular assistance but declined to comment further, citing privacy obligations.

Ricketson has proved a controversial figure in the past, having been involved in public spats with Screen Australia. In 2014, he was handed a two-year suspended sentence for threatening to defame a Brisbane-based church by suggesting the church sold children.

MOST VIEWED

  • All Covid restrictions for inbound travellers lifted

    Cambodia has apparently taken the final step towards full reopening of the country without Covid-19 restrictions by removing all requirements for inbound travellers, who until now had to show health certificates indicating that they have tested Covid-19 negative in the past 72 hours as well as

  • Typhoon Noru brings flash floods – 16 dead

    An official warned that that the 16th typhoon of the season, Noru, had brought heavy rains to areas the Mekong River and flooded thousands of homes in the provinces bordering Thailand. As of September 27, the death toll from the flooding had risen to 16. National Committee

  • Cambodia stands firm on 5PC: No invite for Myanmar to ASEAN Summit this year

    Cambodia has not invited Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, chairman of Myanmar’s ruling State Administration Council (SAC), to the 40th and 41st ASEAN Summit and related meetings scheduled for next month in Phnom Penh. The government will instead invite a non-political representative from Myanmar

  • Mushrooming borey projects and home financing – a cause for concern?

    A spurt in housing developments is typically a sign of a growing economy but underneath all that might lay some anxiety of credit growth as developers offer financing to buyers at higher rates, an activity the central bank identifies as ‘shadow banking’ Earlier this year,

  • Thai Senate delegates in Cambodia to discuss anti-graft co-op

    A delegation from Thailand's Senate was in Phnom Penh on September 28 to meet their Cambodian counterparts to discuss strategies for fighting corruption and enhancing cooperation. The Thai delegates were from its Senate’s Committee on Studying and Inspecting Corruption, Misconduct and Strengthening Good Governance. They

  • Scholarship winner tells secrets to success

    Chhim Chaknineath was awarded the Chevening Scholarship for one year of postgraduate study in the UK for the academic year 2022-2023 along with a group of 10 other outstanding students who applied. She spent more than a year researching and studying – as well as consulting with