PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — Cambodia has pardoned Australian filmmaker James Ricketson, who was sentenced last month to six years in jail on an espionage charge in a trial that was widely criticized as unfair.
The royal pardon issued Friday was signed by Senate President Say Chhum, the acting head of state in the absence of King Norodom Sihamoni, who is reported to be visiting China. Pardons are normally issued at the request of Prime Minister Hun Sen.
Ricketson was arrested last year after flying a drone to photograph an opposition party rally. His arrest came as Hun Sen’s government was beginning a crackdown on critics and political rivals. The ruling party won a landslide election victory in July. There have been a series of releases of political prisoners since the polls.