Deputy dis­avows apol­ogy

The Phnom Penh Post - - FRONT PAGE - Erin Han­d­ley and Niem Ch­heng

THE Cam­bo­dia Daily’s deputy pub­lisher, Deb­o­rah Kr­isher-Steele, has dis­avowed a “grov­el­ling” apol­ogy let­ter she signed “un­der duress”, say­ing she feared her hus­band was within hours of ar­rest if she did not.

At a For­eign Cor­re­spon­dents’ Club of Ja­pan event on Tues­day, Kr i s her- St e e l e re­vealed the mo­ti­va­tions be­hind the con­cil­ia­tor y tone of the Septem­ber 9 let­ter, which ex­pressed re­gret that ob­servers had sug­gested her news­pa­per’s clo­sure on Septem­ber 4 was linked to po­lit­i­cal sup­pres­sion of press free­dom and asked Prime Min­is­ter Hun Sen to find a “win-win” so­lu­tion.

“On the day the Cam­bo­dian govern­ment seized our bank ac­counts … I get this fran­tic mes­sage from my as­sis­tant say­ing [my hus­band] Doug is go­ing to be ar­rested and you have to sign this let­ter in two hours, and it was all in Kh­mer,” she said. “I have no idea what it says, and I’m re­ally scared that my hus­band’s go­ing to be ar­rested. And ap­par­ently it’s this grov­el­ling let­ter apol­o­gis­ing for ev­ery­thing I said. So I signed it. I will just have to disavow it . . . Un­der duress, I signed it.”

In an email yes­ter­day, she said her as­sis­tant had re­ceived the warn­ing call from Soy Sopheap, the pub­lisher of Deum Ampil news­pa­per and a fre­quent govern­ment in­ter­locu­tor. Kr­isher-Steele claimed the CON­TIN­UED

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