Federal Labor has joined calls for Australian filmmaker and convicted spy James Ricketson to be granted clemency by Cambodia.
The 69-year-old was last week found guilty by a Cambodian court of espionage and sentenced to six years in prison.
“The government has indicated its willingness to support any plea for clemency,” opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong said on Thursday.
“Labor supports this and ongoing Australian government engagement with Cambodian counterparts to raise concerns over the case and secure his release.”
Senator Wong also condemned the Cambodian regime’s continued crackdown on political and press freedoms.
Ricketson has confirmed he will not seek an appeal against his conviction, enabling him to seek a royal pardon.
“My father has decided to submit a plea for a king’s pardon. The Australian Government has indicated to us that they will throw their full support behind this submission,” his son Jesse said on Wednesday.
“This is no longer a legal issue but a humanitarian one. It is a question of compassion and mercy. My dad is an old man with failing health suffering through incredibly difficult conditions,” he added.
Foreign Minister Marise Payne has confirmed the government’s support for the application.
“I welcome today’s statement by the Ricketson family that Mr Ricketson intends to formally lodge a petition for clemency,” Senator Payne told AAP in a statement.
She said the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade would continue to work with his family and provide Mr Ricketson full consular support.
Ricketson, 69, was found guilty of espionage and collecting information for “foreign states” that was damaging to the national security of Cambodia, before a bench of three judges.
He was arrested in June last year after flying a drone over a political rally organised by the now banned Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP), without a permit, and sentenced to six years behind bars.
“Six years in there will kill him. We need to get him home. I, as his son, on behalf of all of his family and loved ones, am also personally asking for mercy so we can do so,” Jesse said.
Under Cambodian law a pardon can not be issued until the appeals process has been exhausted or dropped. It is normally requested by the convicted with the government then asking King Norodom Sihamoni for a royal approval.