PHNOM PENH • A Cambodian court yesterday jailed an Australian film-maker for six years after finding him guilty of espionage for flying a drone over an opposition party rally.
James Ricketson, 69, was arrested in June last year after being photographed flying the drone above the rally organised by the now-dissolved opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party before communal elections.
"The Phnom Penh Municipal Court has decided to convict James Ricketson and sentences him to six years in prison for espionage and collecting information that is harmful to the nation between December 2010 and June 2017," Judge Seng Leang said.
The Australian, who has spent more than a year behind bars after being denied bail, expressed disbelief after the verdict. "Which country was I conducting espionage for?" he asked.
His family called the sentence an "absolute tragedy".
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said further consular assistance would be provided to the film-maker.