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The Cambodian activist Chut Wutty was killed while documenting illegal logging. He was one of Cambodia's most prominent land rights activists.

Cambodia: Activist Chut Wutty killed

The prominent Cambodian land rights activist Chut Wutty was killed on April 26. He worked closely together with Diakonia's partner organization Cambodian Centre for Human Rights (CCHR).

Killed while documenting illegal logging

Chut Wutty was reportedly shot by members of the military police while engaged in field research into illegal logging and land seizures. He was travelling together with two journalists, who were arrested but later set free. The killings took place near an environmentally sensitive forest area, one of the areas that Chut Wutty was trying to protect.

The Diakonia partner organization LICADHO immediately dispatched investigators and established that Chut Wutty was shot as he tried to drive away from the military police:

"Mr. Chut Wutty went to shoot a photo in a place where a lot of trees were being cut and then one military police came asking him for the memory [card] from him," says a provincial coordinator from LICADHO.

Human rights activists in Cambodia often threatened

Chut Wutty was an outspoken critic of illegal logging and Wutty's colleagues say the activist had previously received threats.

The killing of Chut Wutty is yet another sign of how the situation for human rights activists in Cambodia is deteriorating.

Human rights groups in Cambodia and abroad are now calling for a full government investigation into the shooting death of a prominent Cambodia.