A controversial Australian filmmaker who has been detained since Saturday had yet to be charged as of on Thursday evening, authorities said, in apparent violation of Cambodian law.
James Ricketson, 68, was detained on Saturday afternoon near Phnom Penh’s riverside after police became suspicious of his behavior and demanded to see his passport, which they say he failed to produce.
Reached on Thursday evening, Phnom Penh Municipal Court spokesman Ly Sophana said prosecutors had finished questioning Mr. Ricketson but had yet to charge him.
“Deputy prosecutor Seng Sok handled this case and had already finished questioning the suspect,” Mr. Sophana said in a message. The deputy prosecutor “is checking the documents and evidence in order to make a decision according to procedure.”
Mr. Sok could not be reached for comment.
Cambodian law sets the maximum provisional detention period without charge at 48 hours, which can be extended by an additional 24 hours with special authorization from a court prosecutor in the case of felonies, according to the Cambodian Center for Human Rights.
Court spokesman Y Rin said on Thursday evening that the case had not yet been sent to judges.
Lou Rabo, deputy municipal police chief in charge of immigration, said Mr. Ricketson had been sent back to the municipal police station and would be sent back to the court today. Mr. Rabo confirmed that Mr. Ricketson was arrested for living in Cambodia illegally but did not have insight into the reasons for the delay.
“The procedure is out of my hands,” he said. “I don’t know either why it’s taking so long.”
Government-affiliated Fresh News showed Mr. Ricketson flying a drone over a CNRP campaign rally last Friday, but police denied his arrest was related to the infraction of flying a drone, which is banned in the capital without official permission.
The filmmaker was found guilty last year of defaming anti-pedophile NGO Action Pour Les Enfants for accusing the organization of manipulating witnesses.
soumy@cambodiadaily.com
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