Irish newspaper editor released in Cambodia

 

The Irish journalist arrested in Cambodia over the weekend and freed this morning is "shaken and tired" but his family has stressed he was not mistreated while in prison.

Mr Kevin Doyle, the editor of the English language Cambodia Daily, a radio journalist and a human rights worker were detained by the army last Friday evening while trying to assist a group of 17 ethnic Montagnard people flee alleged persecution in Vietnam.

The three were accused and charged with alleged human trafficking in the remote Ratanakiri province in the north east of the country. Local officials confirmed their release this morning.

Mr Doyle's brother, Robert, told ireland.comthe British Embassy believed Mr Doyle would not be deported for his actions because of the high-level of public interest his reporting has generated. Ireland does not have an embassy in the country.

He claimed King Norodom Sihanouk had publicly expressed support for his brother and other journalists and human rights activists struggling to reveal the true extent of the refugee problem along the Vietnamese border.

However it is unclear whether Mr Doyle will face charges from Cambodia's Interior Ministery when he returns tomorrow to his home in Phnom Penn. According to Robert Doyle, who spoke to his brother earlier this afternoon, there is "still confusion over what action the government will take". He said his brother is still in the Ratanakiri province working on a story about the incident for the Cambodia Daily.

He added that a recent report published in the International Herald Tribuneby Mr Doyle had "really set things off with the Cambodian government" because of their refusal to accept the Montagnards as refugees.

Around 200 Montagnards - often dubbed "America's forgotten allies" for siding with the United States in the Vietnam War - have emerged from the Cambodian jungle in the last week.

They say they were forced to flee persecution in the coffee-growing Central Highlands of Vietnam after staging protests over land and religious rights in April.

However the Cambodian government has become increasingly sensitive about the volume of protestant Montagnards crossing into the country and recently refused access to the Ratanakiri province to journalists and aid workers.

Mr Doyle is originally from Lucan, Co Dublin. He has been living and working as a journalist in Cambodia since 1998.

He is married to an Australian woman and his brother claims he has no intention of returning to Ireland in the near future.