One of the journalists on the scene when environmentalist Chut Wutty was gunned down last month appeared in a Koh Kong provincial court yesterday to answer questions about the shooting incident, which also led to the death of military police officer In Rattana.
According to human rights group Licadho, Cambodia Daily reporter Phorn Bopha spent about two hours yesterday responding to questions from investigating Judge Min Makara.
In Kongchit, who is monitoring the issue for Licadho, said that Phorn Bopha also spoke with a deputy prosecutor.
She declined to speak with Licadho and did not answer her phone yesterday when the Post called asking for comment.
“Bopha does not speak about this case because she’s an important witness,” In Kongchit said.
“I believe her presence in court could make the court summons more witnesses and could lead to finding the involved perpetrators who ordered the killing of Chut Wutty,” he said.
On April 26, Chut Wutty was escorting Phorn Bopha and a reporting colleague, Canadian Olesia Plokhii, into the Cardamom Mountains for a story on illegal logging.
The trip quickly descended into tragedy after military police stopped their vehicle in Mondul Seima district.
According to a five-member joint investigative committee, Chut Wutty, 48, was shot by military police officer In Rattana, 31. In Rattana was then accidentally shot when security guard Ran Boroth tried to disarm him.
A Koh Kong provincial court charged Ran Boroth, 27, with unintentional murder, an offence that carries a one- to three-year jail term.
The Post has previously reported that Plokhii was also summonsed to appear in court. She is believed to have left the country.
In Kongchit said that human rights NGOs asked the provincial court to summons more witnesses, such as two security guards, two villagers and one military police officer who were present at the shooting.
Judge Min Makara said that he could not comment on questions posed to Phorn Bopha.
“It’s confidential. I cannot answer you because it could affect the witness’s safety,” he said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Chhay Channyda at firstname.lastname@example.org