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Australian on trial in Cambodia testifies he is not a spy

August 23, 2018 GMT
Australian filmmaker James Ricketson sits in a prison truck upon his arrival at Phnom Penh Municipal Court, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018. Ricketson is on trial in Cambodia on charges of endangering national security after being arrested last year for flying a drone to capture images of an opposition political rally. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)
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Australian filmmaker James Ricketson sits in a prison truck upon his arrival at Phnom Penh Municipal Court, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018. Ricketson is on trial in Cambodia on charges of endangering national security after being arrested last year for flying a drone to capture images of an opposition political rally. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)
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Australian filmmaker James Ricketson sits in a prison truck upon his arrival at Phnom Penh Municipal Court, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018. Ricketson is on trial in Cambodia on charges of endangering national security after being arrested last year for flying a drone to capture images of an opposition political rally. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — An Australian filmmaker on trial in Cambodia for endangering national security has defended himself under cross-examination, declaring the evidence shows he is a journalist, not a spy or political operative.

James Ricketson was arrested in June last year after he used a drone to film a rally of an opposition political party ahead of local elections. The charge against him is tantamount in legal terms to espionage, and carries a punishment of up to 10 years in prison.

He said in testimony Thursday that his filming the opposition Cambodian National Rescue Party was strictly a journalistic endeavor, and that video and messages presented as evidence by the prosecution were the products of journalism, not spying.