Journalists, environmental activist beaten in Romania during investigation on illegal logging
Two journalists filming an international documentary about illegal deforestation in Romania and the environmental activist helping them identify evidence of possible crimes were beaten last week in a forest in Suceava county. The three are director and journalist Mihai Dragolea and his colleague Radu Constantin Mocanu, and environmental activist Tiberiu Bosutar, Greenpeace said.
The three were taken to the hospital. Their equipment and all records were destroyed.
The team filming in the forest in Cosna commune, Suceava county, was reportedly attacked by a group of 20 people who were extremely aggressive.
Mihai Dragolea told local news station Digi24: “Suddenly we saw 20 people with axes and bats in their hands, among whom were the owner and the forestry engineer, and about 10 seconds later we were attacked. We took refuge in the car, but the car couldn’t hold the attack of 20 people, they opened the doors, we were thrown out of the car, I was hit in the face, and I fell into a ravine, from where I called 112.”
He also said that the attackers threatened to kill them.
Police officers and gendarmes were sent to the area following the call to 112. Some of the attackers were identified and taken to the police station. Four were detained and later placed under judicial control, according to News.ro.
Illegal logging continues to be a major problem in Romania, and the phenomenon has been documented and covered by local and international news organizations and NGOs.
“Over the years, environmental organizations have repeatedly pointed out that environmental activists and foresters risk their lives in their work to protect the environment and conserve the natural environment. Also, in recent years, several journalists have been assaulted while documenting illegal deforestation. In 2019, Greenpeace Romania and Agent Green estimated that over 600 people were injured over time, and six of them died as a result of this violence,” Greenpeace said.
About two years ago, a Netflix crew filming a documentary about illegal logging in the Domogled National Park in southwestern Romania and their local guide were assaulted by loggers as they were documenting in.
(Photo source: Vladimir Zlotnik/Dreamstime.com)