While filming a new documentary on illegal deforestation in Romania, filmmaker and journalist Mihai Dragolea, environmental activist Tiberiu Bosutar, and a third companion, Radu Mocanu, were brutally beaten by a group of twenty men.
The attack took place in a forest in Cosna, Suceava County, and was carried out with axes and forks. As well as being critically beaten, Dragolea’s equipment was destroyed, as well as field notes and records. «Among the attackers were the forestry engineer and the owner of the forest. I couldn’t have any dialogue with them. They only shouted: I will kill you !, I will kill you», Mihai Dragolea told the Romanian newspaper Digi24.
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The attack, which rendered Bosutar and the third companion unconscious, has since yielded some arrests, thanks mostly to Greenpeace who asked the Inspector General of the Romanian Police and Chief Inspector of IPJ Suceava to directly involve themselves in solving this case and to watch the investigation until it is completed. Greenpeace is also providing emergency legal assistance to the victims.
Dragolea himself is a young filmmaker whose 2015 film Golden Robot was well-received across the local documentary sphere, while illegal deforestation continues to be a major problem in Romania. Fueled by Austrian companies (ie. Kronospan, Holzindustrie Schweighofer, who operate logging mills in the town of Sebeș), a multi-billion euro industry and a mafia-like system of enforcement and secrecy, Romania’s pristine virgin forests are being cut down to the tune of 260 million trees to logging since the Austrians arrived. Aside from corrupt politicians who have welcomed the foreign companies with open arms, a Romanian forestry company, Romsilva, has issued the logging licenses