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Two Men Questioned in Shooting Death of Conservationist

Chut Wutty, Director of the Natural Resource Protection Group, gestures at Botum Sakor National Park in Koh Kong province, Cambodia, February 2012. (file photo)

Activists in Koh Kong province say at least two suspects were called to the court on Wednesday for questioning in the April 26 shooting death of conservationist Chut Wutty and military policeman In Ratana.

The two suspects, Rann Borath, 26, a security guard for the Timber Green company, and So Sopheap, a military policeman, were being questioned, “but they are not yet charged,” said In Kong Chhit, a Koh Kong activist for the rights group Licadho.

Chut Wutty, head of the Natural Resource Protection Group, which led a number of grassroots conservation efforts, was killed while escorting two journalists to investigate illegal logging in a remote area of Koh Kong.

Mok Chito, a three-star general and head of the government’s joint investigative committee on the shooting, said he had not received information on the two men. Members of the committee traveled to Koh Kong on Wednesday, where members met with provincial officials.

Meanwhile, local and international groups have continued to push for a thorough investigation of the killing, with many rights workers reminded of the abuse and threats they face daily in Cambodia.

“There should be participation from the government in the promotion of human rights,” said Suon Bunthoeun, an activist at the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, as a guest on “Hello VOA” Monday. “There should not be an effort to silence rights protectors.”

Suon Bunthoeun said much “suspicion” remained over the shooting, and he urged further investigation.

“It looks like too much coincident in his killing,” he said.