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Pardoned Australian Filmmaker James Ricketson Leaves Cambodia

James Ricketson is expected to arrive in Australia late on Sunday after being pardoned by Cambodia's king.

Ricketson, 69, was sentenced to jail for six years on August 31 for espionage in a trial that was widely criticised by human rights activists and politicians in Australia.

He had denied the charges but dropped his appeal to seek a royal pardon, which was granted by Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni on Friday evening.

The filmmaker had also been accused of endangering Cambodian national security after flying a drone over a political rally organised by the now banned Cambodian National Rescue Party.

READ MORE: Who Is The Aussie Filmmaker Jailed For Spying in Cambodia 

Authorities have pardoned the Australian filmmaker's conviction for espionage.

Upon news of his release, Ricketson's family expressed their relief, including son Jesse who thanked the king for "showing us compassion and bringing this nightmare to an end".

"It still hasn't really sunk in. It has been a really tough 16 months and I'm just kind of in shock right now," Jesse said.

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

"I thank my counterpart, Cambodian Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn, for his government's positive consideration of Mr Ricketson's petition," Payne said.