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Released Aussie Filmmaker ‘Will Be Banned From Cambodia’


Australian filmmaker James Ricketson gestures as he leaves the Municipal Court of Phnom Penh, Cambodia August 16, 2018. REUTERS/Samrang Pring

Khieu Sopheak, interior ministry spokesman, said Ricketson would “have no opportunity to return to Cambodia again.”

Australian filmmaker James Ricketson will be banned from returning to Cambodia following his release from jail last week.

Khieu Sopheak, interior ministry spokesman, said Ricketson would “have no opportunity to return to Cambodia again.”

Ricketson, who was sentenced to six years in August for allegedly spying, had reportedly planned to return to Cambodia to complete a film he had been working on for several years.

Khieu Sopheak added the court based its decision after finding Ricketson was “not neutral, not independent.”

The 69-year-old used a drone to film an opposition rally in the capital ahead of local elections in 2017.

Ricketson served more than a year in pre-trial detention before his sentencing in August.

Kong Sam Onn, Ricketson’s lawyer, said his client would need to decide whether to pursue legal action if he was to be barred from the country.

Phil Robertson, Human Rights Watch’s deputy Asia director, said it would be regrettable if the government banned from the country.​

"After imprisoning Ricketson on bogus charges, this decision to bar him from Cambodia where he spent over 20 years really adds insult to injury. It's sadly typical that those defending Hun Sen's corrupt, rights abusing government of super-rich elites would want to keep out someone like Ricketson who dedicated his time to helping the poorest of the poor. Ricketson is too good and focused on the needs of others for crude government propagandists like Khieu Sopheak to understand,” he said.

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