Tireless activist Chut Wutty shot dead in Koh Kong Province

April 27, 2012 | Posted in: Press

Cambodian Center for Human Rights

Press Statement

Chut Wutty, the Founder and Director of the Natural Resource Protection Group (NRPG), has been shot dead in an incident in Koh Kong province in which military police officer In Rattana is also said to have died today, 26 April 2012. The details of the incident in which the two men died remain unclear but their deaths have been confirmed by military police spokesman Kheng Tito. Wutty’s death has also been confirmed by his nephew, Chuon Phearum, as well as Koh Kong provincial military police chief, Thong Naron.

According to The Phnom Penh Post (‘Environmental activist Chut Wutty shot dead’) the incident occurred today at 12.30 pm in Koh Kong’s Veal Bei commune, Mondul Sima district. Two journalists from The Cambodia Daily are reported to have been accompanying Wutty but are said to have been unharmed in the incident which occurred near the Central Cardamom Protect Forest. Wutty has been subject to threats in the past as a result of his work in this area. In 2001 as part of a small Conservation International team sent to patrol for illegal logging in the Cardamom mountains, he was threatened by a military commander who said he would kill him over his investigations into illegal logging. He had to flee his hotel and rent a boat in the middle of the night that took him to safety.

In the face of continued threats and harassment, as Director of the NRPG, Wutty, a former soldier, has advocated tirelessly against the ongoing destruction of Cambodia’s natural resources. In 2011, he was threatened with arrest and criminal charges as a result of his work raising awareness of the destruction of Prey Lang forest in the Northeast of the country.  In August and September, two training events he conducted with the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) in Kampong Thom province for community members affected by the destruction of Prey Lang forest were disrupted by police and military police armed with AK-47s.

Wutty is survived by his wife, two daughters and a son. In this terrible time, the thoughts and prayers of the staff of CCHR are with Wutty and his family.

For more information, please contact:  Ou Virak,  CCHR President, telephone: +855 12 40 40 51; email: ouvirak@cchrcambodia.org; or Suon Bunthoeun, CCHR Human Rights Defenders Project Coordinator, Email: bunthoeun@cchrcambodia.org