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Trial of Aussie filmmaker delayed in Cambodia

James Ricketson tells court that prosecution has failed to produce evidence in espionage case
Trial of Aussie filmmaker delayed in Cambodia

Detained Australian filmmaker James Ricketson arrives at court in Phnom Penh for his continuing trial on July 16. Ricketson, 69, was arrested in Cambodia last year and charged with spying after he flew a drone over an opposition rally in the capital.
(Photo by Tang Chhin Sothy/AFP)

Published: July 16, 2018 05:46 AM GMT
Updated: July 16, 2018 05:49 AM GMT

A Cambodian court has delayed the espionage trial of Australian filmmaker James Ricketson by one month to allow his legal team time to prepare a defense.

Dressed in orange prison overalls, Ricketson, 69, who was arrested after flying a drone over a political rally, said prosecutors had failed to produce 1,600 pages of evidence.

"I can't form a defense unless I am presented with all the evidence by the prosecutors and I still haven't been presented with any at all," he told the bench of three judges on July 16.

Ricketson has become a focal point for press freedom issues in Cambodia and has been detained in notorious Prey Sar prison for more than a year.

He denies the charges but admits to flying a drone without a permit.

He has also been critical of Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen. Last week he sent a letter to Hun Sen apologizing for "any disrespectful comments" he had made regarding his leadership.

"I now realize that my statements I have made in the press and other media are disruptive and ill-informed. These statements were made from a place of foreign naivety and ignorance about the complexities and difficulties of governing Cambodia," Ricketson wrote.

He was taken into custody in June 2017 and has since been linked by the government to the banned opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP).

Investigators have spent more than a year trawling through some 15,000 emails on his computer.

Two local journalists formerly with Radio Free Asia, Yeang Sothearin, 35, and Oun Chhin, 49, are in jail charged with treason.

CNRP politicians have fled the country following a crackdown on dissent and independent journalism ahead of elections due on July 29.

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