Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Deported filmmaker James Ricketson: ‘I’ll be going back’

Deported filmmaker James Ricketson: ‘I’ll be going back’

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
James Ricketson waves from his car as he leaves for home from Sydney International airport on Sunday. SAEED KHAN/AFP

Deported filmmaker James Ricketson: ‘I’ll be going back’

Deported filmmaker James Ricketson told media on his return to Australia that he still loved Cambodia and wished to return, despite just being given a royal pardon from a six-year prison sentence.

“I’ll be going back as soon as I can, but I’ll need to recover obviously. I need to spend some time with myself and some time with my family. But yeah, I’ll be going back,” he said.

The Australian Directors Guild co-founder returned home on Sunday after his release from prison on Friday. He had served four weeks of his sentence for espionage and spent 15 months in prison in pre-trial detention.

His brother Peter told a press conference in Sydney on Monday that he would feel “hesitant” about the 69-year-old returning to Cambodia any time soon, the Australian Guardian reported.

“I would feel in two minds about going him back to Cambodia. One would be that is where he loves to help people. He’s a humanitarian at heart, he’s got an adopted family there and he wants to continue his good work."

“I would be hesitant about him going back immediately. I think the political situation needs to settle down,” he said.

Immigration Department chief Kem Sarin said on Tuesday that based on an April 2016 prakas on deportation, a person convicted of a crime in Cambodia is permanently barred from entering the Kingdom.

“A permanent ban from Cambodia is applied to foreigners in the following cases – for those convicted of a crime, for having been deported from Cambodia twice, and those deemed mentally ill,” Sarin said.

However, legal expert Sok Sam Oeun said that because Ricketson had received a pardon, his conviction was therefore annulled.

But he said the authorities would still have grounds to deny him entry into Cambodia.

“His case is over, but normally the authorities of each country have the right not to let foreigners enter. If they are afraid that a foreigner may cause problems, they won’t let him enter. A country has the right to deny any foreigner a visa,” he said.

On his arrival at Sydney airport on Sunday, Ricketson thanked Prime Minister Hun Sen for recommending his pardon to the king, “for a crime I did not commit”, the Australian Guardian reported.

He said there was “room for improvement” in the way the Australian government had handled his case.

“I’ll leave it at that for the time being – I really need to go home and go to bed now,” he said. “I do have a good story to tell but now, at the airport, is not the right time to tell it.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Angkor lifetime pass, special Siem Reap travel offers planned

    The Ministry of Tourism plans to introduce a convenient, single lifetime pass for foreign travellers to visit Angkor Archaeological Park and potentially other areas. The move is designed to stimulate tourism to the culturally rich province of Siem Reap as the start of the “Visit

  • Ice cream, noodles flagged over carcinogen

    The General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia (GDCE) has identified three types of instant noodles and ice cream trademarks originating from Thailand, Vietnam and France that are suspected to contain ethylene oxide, which poses a cancer risk to consumers. The general department has

  • Exclusive interview with Josep Borrell Fontelles, High Representative of the EU

    CAMBODIA is hosting the 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and Related Meetings this week with top officials from the US, China, and Russia and other countries in the region slated to attend and to meet with face-to-face with their counterparts on the sidelines. In

  • Rise in Thai air routes to Siem Reap fuels travel hopes

    Local tourism industry players are eager for regional airline Bangkok Airways Pcl’s resumption of direct flight services between the Thai capital and Siem Reap town on August 1 – home of Cambodia’s awe-inspiring Angkor Archaeological Park – which is expected to boost the growth rate of

  • ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ meet commences, Taiwan issue possibly on table

    The 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and related meetings hosted by Cambodia kicks off in Phnom Penh on August 3, with progress, challenges, and the way forward for the ASEAN Community-building on the table. Issues on Taiwan, sparked by the visit of US House Speaker

  • Recap of this year’s ASEAN FM meet and look ahead

    This year’s edition of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) hosted by Cambodia comes against the backdrop of heightened global tensions and increasing rivalry between major powers that have been compared to the animosity of the Cold War era. The following is The Post’