PHNOM PENH – The Overseas Press Club of Cambodia is concerned about the arrest of Australian filmmaker James Ricketson, who was charged with spying on June 9.
Ricketson was arrested on June 2 for flying a drone over an opposition rally ahead of the recent commune elections. He was detained without charge for six days, far beyond the legal limit of 72 hours.
So far, Cambodian officials have refused to release any details about the allegations against Ricketson. However, court spokesman Ly Sophanna told media that the charge related to “collecting information … with a view to supplying them to a foreign state or its agents, which are liable to prejudice the national defence.”
Journalists operate in difficult environments and need clarification on laws regarding the use of drones. We would like the authorities to provide this for journalists and cameramen.
This charge and Ricketson’s treatment sets a dangerous precedent that has industry-wide ramifications. We urge the authorities to act with restraint and within the laws of Cambodia.