The killing of a prominent Cambodian environment activist must be investigated immediately, Amnesty International said after the activist and a military police officer were shot dead on Thursday in Cambodia’s south-western Koh Kong province.
Other military personnel were apparently present during the shootings, but the details of the incident remain cloudy.
Chut Wutty was an outspoken critic of illegal logging, and has supported other environment and land activists, such as the Prey Lang Network. He had received threats because of his activities.
“This shocking incident will undoubtedly set alarm bells ringing for all activists who have worked with Wutty,” said Rupert Abbott, Amnesty International’s Researcher on Cambodia.
“There must be accountability in this case, with an immediate and proper investigation into what happened.”
Two women journalists from the Cambodia Daily newspaper – Cambodian Phorn Bopha and Olesia Plokhii, a Canadian national – were with Wutty when he was shot. Both were initially detained, but have since been released.
“The Cambodian authorities must guarantee the safety of the two journalists caught up in this tragedy while reporting. As the only individuals who may know what happened, they could be at risk,” said Abbott.
Wutty was the Director of the Natural Resource Protection Group (NRPG), a Cambodian NGO that campaigns against the destruction of the country’s forests.