Australian filmmaker James Ricketson, jailed in Cambodia

A lawyer for Australian filmmaker James Ricketson, who was sentenced in Cambodia in August to six years in prison on widely decried espionage charges has requested a royal pardon.

Ricketson’s son made the announcement on Friday.

Lawyer Kong Sam Onn said he submitted the request to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s office.

“He’s only a filmmaker, he wasn’t involved in espionage,’’ Sam Onn told the Khmer Times.

He could not be reached directly for comment.

Ricketson, 69, was arrested in June 2017 while flying a drone with a camera over an opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) rally and charged with collecting information that may undermine national defence.

His son Jesse Ricketson told dpa on Friday that his imprisoned father was “in failing health suffering in a very difficult situation.

“We are hoping that humanity and compassion will prevail and he will get the chance to return home to his family as soon as possible,’’ he said.

Government spokesman Phay Siphan said he did not know if Hun Sen had received the pardon request, adding that requests are not considered unless the convicted person has accepted guilt.

Ricketson has maintained his innocence and asked court officials to say for which nation he has supposedly spied.

In July, he apologised to Hun Sen, who has ruled Cambodia for more than 30 years for past “disrespectful comments’’ in a letter published in the Khmer Times.

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