Court Drops Case in Killing of Activist Chut Wutty
Chut Wutty was killed a jungle checkpoint in the province in April, as he was escorting two journalists to look into illegal logging.
PHNOM PENH - Koh Kong provincial court has dropped the case in the murder of environmental activist Chut Wutty. Chut Wutty was killed a jungle checkpoint in the province in April, as he was escorting two journalists to look into illegal logging and the potential harvesting of a vine for drug production.
Authorities had arrested one man and accused him of accidentally killing a military policeman who they said had just shot Chut Wutty. However, rights groups have said the scenario laid out by police was improbable and that his death should be better investigated.
“The court will not take action on Chut Wutty’s murder case,” said In Kong Chit, rights coordinator for Licadho in Koh Kong.
Court officials could not immediately be reached for comment.
Family members said they were informed by rights workers about the court’s decision.
“I cannot be calm, because they have forgotten my father’s case,” said Chheuy Oudon Reaksmey, the oldest son.
The decision was another blow to the reputation of Cambodia’s beleaguered court system, which is widely viewed as beholden to powerful political and business interests. It comes on the heals of a 20-year prison sentence for Beehive Radio owner Mam Sonando, who has been accused of helping foment a secessionist movement in Kratie province.
Ou Virak, head of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, said the evidence in Mam Sonando’s trial was much weaker than in Chut Wutty’s murder case, demonstrating the unfair nature of Cambodia’s judiciary.