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

  • US imposes sanctions on Oknha Pheap and Kun Kim

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation expressed strong dismay on Monday over the designation of Cambodian tycoon Oknha Try Pheap and General Kun Kim under the US’ Global Magnitsky Act. “It is very disturbing when the public figures of a country become the

  • Rights Day forum denied in Sihanoukville

    The Preah Sihanouk provincial administration last Saturday denied the request of land communities for a public location in the province to celebrate International Human Rights Day 2019 as the administration had already held forums to discuss land issues. However, the land community representatives said they would

  • Gov’t approves $9B worth of building projects in 2019

    The government has approved more than $9 billion this year for capital investment in the construction sector, a nearly 80 per cent increase on last year, with most of the growth coming from projects in Sihanoukville, according to Minister of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction Chea

  • PP residents urged to use public transport

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol has urged Phnom Penh residents to use the capital’s existing public transport services rather than private vehicles, as it is leading to increased traffic congestion. He also called for the city’s public bus system to

  • Kingdom calls on Japan to increase number of direct flights to Siem Reap, Phnom Penh

    Cambodia is requesting Japan to increase the number of direct flights from Japanese cities and provinces to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, so as to contribute to increasing cooperation and tourist numbers between the two countries. During the opening ceremony of 3rd Japan Travel Fair

  • Sierra Leone potential new market for export of Cambodian milled rice

    Sierra Leone plans to import milled rice from Cambodia for domestic consumption. The request was made when the visiting Sierra Leone Ambassador to China Ernest Ndomahina met Cambodian Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak on Wednesday at the ministry. Ndomahina said his country’s agricultural sector