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Blaming dead officer, court closes probe into Cambodian fixer's murder

UPDATE from Cambodian Center for Human Rights: A year on, CCHR mourns the murder of environmental activist Chut Wutty and the twin scourges of violence and impunity that continue to stalk Cambodia (26 April 2013)

(RSF/IFEX) - 23 October 2012 - Reporters Without Borders is disturbed to learn that a court in the southern province of Koh Kong yesterday terminated the investigation into environmentalist Chut Wutty's death after concluding that he was killed by a military police officer who was in turn fatally shot by a logging company's security guard.

An occasional fixer for journalists, Chut Wutty was murdered while investigating illegal logging on 26 April 2012.

"How convenient, a dead military officer!" Reporters Without Borders said. "The judicial system has decided to make a dead officer carry the can in order to hush this case up as quickly as possible.

"A botched investigation has been quickly closed because the authorities did not want to draw attention to environmental problems for which powerful people are to blame. Those who dare to denounce them can now expect more deadly repression of this kind in the future.

Reporters Without Borders added: "An environmental activist and fixer, Chut Wutty was one of those who dared to speak out. As a result, he made many enemies among the local business community and, in particular, those involved in illegal logging."

The security guard who was arrested for shooting the military officer was convicted yesterday of killing him, but the court sentenced him to only two years in prison with the last 18 months suspended, with the result that he should be released at the start of next month.

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