Australian documentary filmmaker James Ricketson has been sentenced to six years in jail in Cambodia for espionage.

The court ruled that Ricketson had been using his two decades of documentary and humanitarian work as a cover to collect information that would threaten national security in Cambodia, but did not say which country Ricketson was collecting that information for.

The 69-year-old has been imprisoned in Cambodia since June last year when he was arrested after flying a drone to take photos of an opposition political party rally.

According to AAP, the court heard that Ricketson had offered footage taken with the drone to the opposition party leader to use and that the footage contained the secret locations of security deployments.

According to reports, Ricketson was heard yelling “who am I spying for?” as a prison van took him away from the court.

His family said in a statement they were in “utter shock” and were absolutely devastated by the sentence.

“The toll of this result, for James, and our whole family and friends is immense. It has, and continues to be a truly brutal experience,” the family said.

Luke Hunt / AAPIMAGE Australian filmmaker James Ricketson.

Ricketson has 30 days to appeal the sentence.

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