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They said the gathering might have contravened health safety measures for COVID-19
Local authorities in Preah Vihear Province prevented a group of Cambodian community forest activists from holding a ceremony to mark the killing of environmental activist Chutt Wutty, invoking COVID-19 measures.
The authorities of Rosey Srok village in Rovieng district’s Ruosroan commune on Saturday night (April 25) stopped the organizers as they were setting up the area where the event was to be held Sunday (April 26), saying the gathering may contribute to spreading the Coronavirus Disease 2019.
“I recognize that it is a very important to prevent the spread of COVID-19 but the authorities should help find a way [to do it]” said Sar Mory, research and advocacy program manager for the Cambodian Youth Network.
“It was a small group of [people wanting to take part] and they understood the measures to prevent [COVID-19],” he said during an interview on Sunday. “They were not close to each other and tried to maintain distance.”
Wutty, who had often been in conflict with the authorities over the years, was shot dead at Veal Bei Point in Mondol Seima district, Koh Kong Province, on April 26, 2012, while investigating illegal logging in the Cardamom Mountains. He was accompanied by two women journalists from The Cambodia Daily when he was killed. Human rights organizations have deplored the investigation regarding his death, calling it inadequate.
“Today on 26 April 2020, we remember the death of Chut Wutty, Cambodia’s foremost environmental and anti-logging activist who was shot dead in Koh Kong Province in 2012,” Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) posted Sunday on Facebook. “Eight years after his death, justice for Chut Wutty remains to be done.”