On Thursday the director and journalist Mihai Dragolea was severely beaten by a group of about 20 individuals as he was trying to make an international documentary about illegal logging in Romania. The activist Tiberiu Bosutar was with Dragolea and he was also beaten by the group as was the cameraman Filip Havarneanu and co-director Radu Constantin Mocanu. All four men were hospitalised and are now receiving medical care in Vatra Dornei in Suceava County. Their condition is stable.
Since 2014 six foresters have been killed and more than 650 forestry workers, environmentalists and journalists have been attacked by those associated with the illegal logging.
In a post on his Facebook page Dragolea said: “Let’s be clear: we are talking about a mafia whose activity is a threat to national security. No parliamentary majority wants to behead this mafia and stop the massacre in Romania’s forests! Therefore, as in the case of the fight against corruption, the only solution is a higher level of pressure. That is why we urgently need the European Green Prosecutor.”
Huge swathes of Romania’s forests are being felled to feed skyrocketing demand worldwide and while some is perfectly legal it is estimated that around half is illegal. An estimated 3 cubic metres of timber per second is being cut down in Romania right now! Organised crime combined with political corruption and a lack of alternative employment opportunities ensures a blind eye is turned to this highly lucrative ecological catastrophe. Those perpetrating and profiting from this racket seem to operate outside of Romanian law and they have proven time and again that they will revert to violence to protect their business.
“I have made numerous addresses to the authorities in this area regarding these investigations (into incidents of illegal logging), nothing moves them, all of the files are still unresolved. What happened last night can easily be framed in the attempted murder. It took a long time from the first call to 112 to the arrival of the police, who also seem to have some solidarity with the aggressors,” said Dragolea.