Cambodia ‘pardons’ Australian filmmaker as ploy to legitimize Hun Sen

In the lead-up to his trip to New York for the United Nations General Assembly, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen once again employed a familiar strategy to appease the international community. Keen to display a softening attitude with high respect for human rights and adherence to the rule of law just like genuinely democratic nations, Cambodia decided on a prisoner release – or in the case of James Ricketson, to “pardon” one.

Last week’s announcement of the “royal pardon” of the Australian film director from his six-year sentence – which had followed a summary trial leading to his conviction of “espionage” last month – was nothing short of a political ploy aimed at legitimizing Hun Sen’s recent election and his regime as an internationally recognized government.

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