One Year On, Family Marks Murder of Activist Chut Wutty

Today marks one year since leading environmental activist Chut Wutty was shot and killed by a military police officer in a remote area of the Cardamom Mountains in Koh Kong province, where his family will hold a Buddhist ceremony in his memory.

Chut Wutty was escorting two Cambodia Daily journalists investigating illegal logging in Koh Kong province’s Mondol Seima district on April 26, 2012, when the group was detained by military police officers and security guards.

Military police officer In Ratana allegedly shot Chut Wutty, who was sitting behind the wheel of his car. He slumped over and died of his wounds. The reporters were with him at the time.

In Ratana was then shot and killed by Rann Boroth, a security guard for the Timber Green logging firm. On October 22, Rann Boroth was convicted of accidentally killing In Ratana, and was sentenced to two years in prison, but Koh Kong Provincial Court Judge Khem Sophary immediately suspended 18 months of the sentence and did not explain his decision. Mr. Boroth has been free since November.

Reached by telephone on Thursday, Chut Wutty’s son, Cheuy Oudormreaksmey, called for justice for his father and said the government needed to do more to find other suspects in the case and shut down companies that are illegally cutting down trees.

“My family will invite two Buddhist monks and one layman for this event with some friends of my father,” Mr. Oudormreaksmey said. “It will be a small Bud­dhist ceremony to mark my father’s death.

“I appeal to the government to find other suspects and send them to court and shut down illegal logging companies,” he added.

In Kong Chet, Koh Kong provincial coordinator for rights group Licadho, said he too believes that there are other suspects who have managed to avoid being held accountable for the murder.

“I was very sad when the suspect Rann Boroth was released,” he said.

Provincial penal police chief Sok Nhor said he was aware of Mr. Boroth’s release, that he had received no further complaints about the case, and that it was closed, as far as he was concerned.

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