Free Speech / News

Supporters Mark Anniversary of Chut Wutty’s Death

by Aun Pheap / The Cambodia Daily

Supporters of Chut Wutty march in Koh Kong province on Saturday to mark the second anniversary of his death. (Chhim Savuth)

Supporters of Chut Wutty march in Koh Kong province on Saturday to mark the second anniversary of his death. (Chhim Savuth)

More than 120 forestry and land-rights activists from around the country gathered in Koh Kong pro­vince on Saturday to mark the second anniversary of the death of Chut Wutty, who was murdered by a military police officer while investigating illegal logging in 2012.

Participants who came from as far away as Preah Vihear gathered at the place where Chut Wutty was shot to death in Mondol Seima district’s Bak Khlang commune to pay their respects.

“We made a statue with tree branches and leaves as a symbol for Mr. Wutty,” said Chhim Savuth, executive director of the Na­­tional Resources Protection Group—the conservation watchdog Chut Wutty founded and ran until his death.

Participants also thumbprinted a petition calling for a reinvestigation of the forestry activist’s death.

“We hope that the government will reopen the investigation to find the perpetrator in accordance with the law,” said Mr. Savuth.

An investigation riddled with irregularities and changing scenarios concluded that military police officer In Ratana shot Chut Wutty dead before in turn being killed by his own gun as a private security guard attempted to disarm him.

The inquiry was widely criticized by human rights groups, who said the lack of evidence and care was alarming. When the case of the security guard, Rann Boroth, went to court, officials announced there was no need for further investigation into the death of Chut Wutty because In Ratana was already dead.

In 2011, after being repeatedly apprehended by military police after escorting the Post to the Central Cardamom Protected Forest in southwestern Cambodia, Chut Wutty asked for his photograph to be taken fearing he could soon be killed.

In 2011, after being repeatedly apprehended by military police after escorting the Post to the Central Cardamom Protected Forest in southwestern Cambodia, Chut Wutty asked for his photograph to be taken fearing he could soon be killed.

Cheuy Oudormreaksmey, the 22-year-old son of Chut Wutty, said he was still dismayed about the lack of justice.

“I am grieving for the loss of my father because the government has not yet found a criminal,” he said.

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