Renewed violence against environmental activists in Romania

A forest conservationist and two journalists have been brutally beaten up by suspected illegal loggers in the Carpathians. This is not the first case of violence against people who stand in the way of the Romanian timber mafia.

<p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p>                People in Romania are protesting</p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p>

Several environmental activists showed solidarity with Tiberiu Bosutar and the two journalists.

© Agent Green

Environmental activist Tiberiu Bosutar from our Romanian partner organisation Agent Green and two journalists were attacked last week by suspected illegal loggers near the village of Panaci. They had been making a documentary about illegal logging in the region. Eleven people were involved in the attack and were questioned by the police. The victims were treated in hospital.

In Romania, violence against activists, forest rangers and journalists who courageously oppose the destruction of the country's primary and old-growth forests is not unusual. In 2019, two forest rangers were murdered in separate incidents as they responded to reports of illegal logging. And in 2016, Gabriel Paun, President of Agent Green and EuroNatur Award winner, was also beaten up by loggers near the Retezat National Park. In his case, prosecutors have still not brought any criminal charges against the perpetrators - even though video footage clearly identifies the attackers. “The Romanian justice system emboldens the attackers,” said Paun.

Meanwhile, Romanian Environment Minister Barna Tanczos condemned the recent attacks: "The attackers must face the full legal consequences," he said. In a show of solidarity, a number of conservationists and activists demonstrated on Sunday for an end to violence against forest conservationists, and for legal action to be taken against the perpetrators. “Last year, 227 people were killed worldwide whilst working to protect the environment. If we do not take these incidents seriously, Romania could soon be blacklisted. To stop this from happening, the authorities need to treat this incident with the utmost seriousness and strongly condemn such crimes," said Mircea Barbu of Agent Green.

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