Cambodia court views work of accused Australian filmmaker
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — A court in Cambodia on Friday viewed some of the work produced by an Australian filmmaker charged with endangering national security by flying a drone over an opposition party rally last year.
The judge in the case of James Ricketson announced that the trial will end Monday, though it was not clear if the verdict will be delivered then.
Ricketson, 69, has been detained since he was arrested in June last year. The charge against him is tantamount in legal terms to espionage, punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Ricketson’s lawyer questioned him about his career on Friday and showed excerpts from films he had made since the 1970s. The purpose of the viewing, which lasted about 30 minutes, appeared to be to show that Ricketson was a professional filmmaker of long standing. The film clips did not include the drone shots from last year, but did include other work he has done in Cambodia and elsewhere.
Ricketson testified Thursday that he is not a spy and was engaged in the normal work of a journalist. He said the limited evidence presented by the prosecution — mostly personal emails that could be interpreted to be sympathetic to the opposition and critical of the government — supported his claim of innocence.
Character witnesses this past week testified about Ricketson’s career and charitable work he had undertaken in Cambodia.
Critics say his arrest was part of a crackdown against opponents by long-serving Prime Minister Hun Sen in the run-up to last month’s general election. Hun Sen’s ruling party, facing no credible opposition group, swept the polls.