The International Federation of Journalists is deeply saddened by news from Cambodia that the body of Canadian filmmaker and journalist Dave Walker has been found at the Angkor Wat temples in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
The IFJ sends its deepest condolences to the family of Dave Walker who have continued efforts to locate the 58-year-old since he disappeared from his residence in Siem Reap under suspicious circumstances on February 14 this year and has called on Cambodian authorities continue their efforts to determine the cause of Dave’s disappearance and death.
Walker’s production company, Animist Farm Films, has been based in Cambodia since mid-2012. Together with Cambodian colleague Sonny Chhoun, he was in the process of making a film about the charitable works of a former Khmer Rouge soldier at the time of his disappearance.
Walker had not been seen since leaving the Green Village Angkor Guest House in Siem Reap, 11 kilometres away on February 14th. He left leaving everything in his room including his mobile phone and passport, telling the maid to make the room up while he went out.
His body was reportedly discovered by a Cambodian child on May 1 outside Angkor Thom's 'Death Gate' by a child whose parents notified police. According to law enforcement officials from the Siem Reap provincial immigration police who secured the scene, it was reported that Dave Walker died “several weeks ago”. The severe state of decomposition has hampered immediate determination of the cause of death.
Officials of the Australian Embassy, who represent Canadian interests in Cambodia, have been informed as have the Australian Federal and Royal Canadian Mounted Police.A pathologist is being brought in from Bangkok to confirm forensics and a medical autopsy will be arranged.
Sonny Chhuon has said that, moments before leaving his guesthouse, Walkler mentioned he would be ‘back in a while’ and left the guesthouse carrying nothing but a bottle of water. Siem Reap provincial Immigration Police officer Yut Sinin has been quoted as saying Mr Walker's departure was ‘entirely out of character’. He was well-known in Siem Riep among the media community.
Walker’s family offered the following sentiments in a statement: “Dave lived a remarkable life and was loved by many thousands around the world. We want to thank the Cambodian people for the love they have shown Dave that was equal to the nearly 30 years of love Dave devoted to Cambodia and its people.”
The statement continues: “Many thousands of Cambodians, as did Dave, died under senseless and tragic circumstances. Dave devoted his life to bring to justice those responsible for the deaths of more than 2 million Cambodian in the 30 years he worked and lived in that country.”
The IFJ urges Cambodian authorities to continue their efforts to determine the cause of Walker’s disappearance.
Acting IFJ Asia Pacific deputy director Jane Worthington said “Our deepest sympathies go out to the family and friends of Dave Walker. This is a tragic loss for the Cambodian journalism community.”
“The IFJ calls on Cambodian authorities to continue its investigations into the highly suspicious circumstances surrounding Dave Walker’s disappearance. For the sake of Dave’s family, we hope that those responsible for this senseless killing are swiftly brought to justice.”
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0950
The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries
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