Monday, April 30, 2012

Cambodian Environmentalist Murdered

A prominent environmental activist was murdered in Cambodia and that nation's military police have closed the investigation. According to police, there will be no further investigation into the shooting death of Chut Wutty because the officer who shot him then took his own life.

Chut Wutty is the director of the National Resources Protection Group. Wutty was investigating illegal logging when he was killed in the forests of Cambodia which are full of illegal loggers.

Wutty was murdered in a place where a Chinese company is building a hydro dam. Although police initially said there was an exchange of gunfire between Wutty and the officer, but a pistol with nine bullets was found inside Chut Wutty’s car and it had not been discharged.

The Center for Cambodian Civic Education, A Cambodian rights group, described it as “cold-blooded murder."

Illegal logging in Cambodia often has government protection. Patrick Alley, director of Global Witness, said the shooting exposed the risks environmental activists in Cambodia face “in the most shocking and tragic manner.” Amnesty International said Wutty had received threats because of his activities, and called for “an immediate and proper investigation into what happened.”

Alley said in a statement that Chut Wutty was “one of the few remaining Cambodian activists willing to speak out against the rapid escalation of illegal logging and land grabbing which is impoverishing ordinary Cambodians and destroying the country’s rich natural heritage.”

© 2012, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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