Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Activists gather near palace to mark Chut Wutty’s death

Activists gather near palace to mark Chut Wutty’s death

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Activists watch the Facebook Live streaming of I Am Chut Wutty on their phones as they commemorate the slaying of forestry activist Chut Wutty yesterday in Phnom Penh. Hong Menea

Activists gather near palace to mark Chut Wutty’s death

To mark the five-year anniversary of the killing of environmental activist Chut Wutty, several dozen activists peacefully gathered by the Royal Palace yesterday to call for an investigation into his murder.

“Justice has not been delivered for him, so we are depending on the spiritual [world] to find justice for him,” environmentalist twins Chum Hout and Chum Hour said before offering their prayers.

A roughly equal number of Daun Penh district police and security officers interrupted the gathering by blowing whistles and by confronting protesters physically. Officials also tore up posters bearing slogans such as “Stop Killing Environmental Activists” after a group of demonstrators began chanting “I am Chut Wutty, we are Chut Wutty”.

Recognised as the most critical anti-logging activist of his time, Wutty was renowned for calling out the military’s alleged role in logging on land concessions in protected areas and related government corruption. He was shot dead while accompanying two journalists in the Cardamom Mountains.

Speaking after the prayer, Wutty’s daughter, Cheuy Solina, called for justice. “I want the government to seek the perpetrator who has killed my father. It has been five years already but the real killer has not been found yet,” she said.

According to the official record, Wutty was shot in a struggle with a military police officer, In Rattana, who was in turn shot unintentionally by security guard Ran Boroth. The Koh Kong provincial court ultimately dropped the case after five months without any hearings on Wutty’s death. Only Rattana’s murder was pursued, which resulted in an 18-month suspended sentence for Boroth, who walked free within two weeks.

Following the prayer, the group watched a live-streamed version of the documentary I Am Chut Wutty on their phones. Director Fran Lambrick ascribed the low turnout to fear. Organisers with the Not 1 More environmental group had predicted as many as 200 attendees.

“Young activists today were afraid to come out even wearing a T-shirt with his face on it,” she said, adding that the lack of closure surrounding Wutty’s death acts as a “licence to kill” others with similar impunity.

Justice Ministry spokesman Chin Malin declined to comment on Wutty’s case specifically, but noted that an investigation can be reopened if new evidence is brought to light.

“They can file a complaint to the King, who is the president of the Supreme Council of Magistracy, to reinvestigate the case,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh passes away at 77

    Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77. “Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,”

  • Rise in planned flights lifts travel hopes

    Six airlines have applied to resume flights in December, while two others have put in for additional flights and routes, according to State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) head Mao Havannall on November 29. These account for 43 new weekly domestic and international flights in December, up 16

  • General’s gun smuggling ring busted

    The Military Police sent six military officers to court on November 22 to face prosecution for possession of 105 illegal rifles and arms smuggling, while investigators say they are still hunting down additional accomplices. Sao Sokha, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and commander of

  • Is Cambodia’s travel sector in for another cheerless holiday season?

    The travel and tourism sector was heaving back to life as borders started to reopen, promising a festive vibe for the holidays and New Year. But Omicron and other Covid-related issues are threatening to close the year on a bleak note ‘Seems [like] Covid-19 won’

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration

  • Hun Sen: Manet to be candidate for prime minister

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has reaffirmed that his oldest son Hun Manet will be his successor as Prime Minister if he is elected. Speaking during the inauguration of a new sewage treatment facility in Preah Sihanouk province on December 2, Hun Sen said Manet will be