City Hall warns against Chut Wutty protest

Mom Sophon / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Protesters warned on anniversary of killing. Reuters

City Hall has handed out a no-nonsense warning to anyone thinking of staging a public protest: get permission first or action will be taken against you.
The municipal authority’s announcement comes as protesters prepare to stage a demonstration in front of the Royal Palace on Wednesday to mark the fifth anniversary of the killing of environmental activist Chut Wutty.
The former director of the Natural Resource Protection group was shot dead as he accompanied two local journalists to conduct interviews and take photos of illegal logging activities in Koh Kong province’s Cardamom Mountains.
Phnom Penh authorities have been led to believe about 200 protesters will stage a rally outside the Royal Palace.
City Hall spokesman Met Meas Pheakdey said yesterday he has not yet received any request to hold the demonstration and could not comment on whether it would be allowed.
He said, “If there is any request, we will consider it based on location, time and the number of participants. We would have to first know about their purpose and then we would let them know if it can go ahead.
“If they hold a public protest without permission, it would be illegal, they would be responsible and we would take whatever action we deem necessary.”
Farmers’ leader Theng Savoeun said yesterday the fifth anniversary of Mr. Wutty’s death would be marked by rallies in which protesters would wear t-shirts with the message “Chut Wutty dead for five years and still no justice”.
Mr. Savoeun, general secretary of the Coalition of Cambodia Farmers Community, said, “We will gather at Wat Chas Pagoda in Chroy Changvar commune and at Preah Ang Dongker Shrine to watch a video titled ‘I am Chut Wutty’ and to pray for justice for him.”
He said his team had campaigned through Facebook for anyone who admired Mr. Wutty to change their profile picture to
his as a gesture of support for his devotion to the environment.
“We demand an investigation and continue to seek justice for Chut Wutty,” he said.
Mr. Wutty’s son Cheuy Oudom said Wednesday’s anniversary would also be marked by a service at a Cambodian pagoda in California.
Mr. Wutty received many death threats from public officials and businessmen.
Following his murder on April 26, 2012 police concluded the man responsible was military police officer In Rattana, 32, who then shot himself.
This has constantly been rejected by Mr. Wutty’s family and supporters.  
Mr. Oudom said he still does not accept the police findings into his father’s death and believes it was merely a cover-up designed to silence the family and community.
He is calling on the government to reopen the case to obtain justice for his father.
“Please investigate the case again,” he said. “Find the people who were behind this.
“The defense forces blocked my father’s car. I am sure there was a clear order to carry this out.”

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