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Australian Filmmaker James Ricketson touches down in Sydney

Australian filmmaker James Ricketson has landed on home soil but has promised he will return to Cambodia just days after being granted a royal pardon.

Ricketson, 69, landed in Sydney on Sunday night just 48 hours after his 15-month stint in a Phnom Penh prison, where he was held on accusations of spying, ended with clemency from Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni.

‘I’ll be going back as soon as I can but I’ll need to recover obviously,’ he said.

Australian filmmaker James Ricketson (pictured) has landed on home soil but has promised he will return to Cambodia just days after being granted a royal pardon 

His (pictured) arrival comes after he recently received a royal pardon for his ordeal 

His (pictured) arrival comes after he recently received a royal pardon for his ordeal 

Despite the 'distressing time' spent in Cambodia, Mr Ricketson (pictured with his daughter, left) plans to return to the country as soon as he is able to

Despite the ‘distressing time’ spent in Cambodia, Mr Ricketson (pictured with his daughter, left) plans to return to the country as soon as he is able to

‘I need to spend some time with myself and some time with my family.

‘But yeah, I’ll be going back.’

The filmmaker was sentenced on August 31 to six years jail for espionage in a trial that was widely criticised by human rights activists and politicians in Australia.

He was arrested at a political rally in June 2017.

The Ricketson family on Sunday expressed their gratitude to supporters and friends who helped his release. 

'I'll be going back as soon as I can but I'll need to recover obviously,' he said as he made his way through Sydney airport to much fanfare (pictured) 

‘I’ll be going back as soon as I can but I’ll need to recover obviously,’ he said as he made his way through Sydney airport to much fanfare (pictured) 

‘Right now our primary focus is on James’ welfare – 16 months in prison will have taken a huge toll on him physically and emotionally, and we want him to be able to rest and recuperate,’ they said in a statement on Sunday.

‘James still deeply loves Cambodia and its people and remains committed to helping however he can.’

The family will hold a press conference in Sydney on Monday.

Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne said the pardon meant the end of a distressing time for the filmmaker and his family.

The filmmaker was sentenced on August 31 to six years jail for espionage in a trial that was widely criticised by human rights activists and politicians in Australia

The filmmaker was sentenced on August 31 to six years jail for espionage in a trial that was widely criticised by human rights activists and politicians in Australia

He was arrested at a political rally in June 2017 and sentenced to six years behind bars

He was arrested at a political rally in June 2017 and sentenced to six years behind bars

 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk