Brazilian rancher murdered US environmentalist nun

This video from the USA says about itself:

On February 12th, 2005, Sister Dorothy Stang, a Catholic nun from Dayton, Ohio, was shot six times and left to die on a muddy road in the Brazilian Amazon. Who was this woman? Why was she killed? And what will be done about it? The answers may hold the fate of the rainforest itself.

Just Media presents “They Killed Sister Dorothy,” a new feature-length documentary following the incredible events in the wake of Stang’s murder in Brazil. Produced by Oscar-winner Nigel Noble and narrated by Martin Sheen, “They Killed Sister Dorothy” captures the battle and the thorny social realities behind tropical deforestationand its solutions in this suspenseful and surprising film.

From Associated Press:

Brazilian Rancher Guilty In U.S. Nun’s Murder

April 13, 2010

A Brazilian rancher accused of ordering the murder of U.S. nun and Amazon defender Dorothy Stang was found guilty and sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Jurors in the jungle city of Belem reached the decision late Monday after 15 hours of deliberations, according to a statement on the Web site of a Para state court.

The case was seen as a test of Brazil’s ability to battle the near absolute impunity that reigns in the largely lawless Amazon region – whether it be the murder of activists or halting illegal deforestation.

In the last two decades, more than 1,200 people have been killed in land conflicts across Brazil, mostly in the Amazon region, according to the Catholic Land Pastoral, a watchdog group that tracks rural violence in Latin America’s largest nation.

Prosecutors said Vitalmiro Moura ordered the 73-year-old Stang’s killing in 2005 because she blocked him and another rancher from taking over land the government gave to farmers.

His guilty verdict makes him the only so-called “mastermind” behind the killing of such activists, landless farmers and others defending the rights of the poor in the Amazon, to be imprisoned for the crimes, the Catholic Land Pastoral said.

About 80 of the gunmen who prosecutors say were paid by powerful ranchers to carry out the slayings are behind bars.

Stang was a Dayton, Ohio, native who worked for three decades to preserve the rain forest and defend poor settlers’ land rights.

“We’ve waited so long for this verdict,” said nun Rebeca Spires, who has worked in Brazil for four decades and knew Stang for 35 years. “This conviction sends a strong message to the other masterminds that the impunity is ending.”

Spires said it was a milestone victory for environmental and other activist groups in the Amazon. Because there is an “endless supply” of gunmen available for hire, it will take convicting the rich ranchers who are behind the killings to end the violence, she said.

Moura was previously convicted of Stang’s murder and then acquitted in an automatic retrial. That decision was overturned last year on a technicality, however.

Confessed gunman Rayfran das Neves Sales is serving a 28-year sentence for the crime.

Regivaldo Galvao, the other rancher prosecutors say helped orchestrate Stang’s murder, is scheduled to face trial at the end of this month.

Sr. Dorothy Stang was killed 10 years ago this week. Remembering the “angel of the Amazon”: here.

This report looks at known killings of people defending environmental and land rights. It identifies a clear rise in such deaths from 2002 and 2013 as competition for natural resources intensifies. In the most comprehensive global analysis of the problem on record, we have found that at least 908 people have died in this time. Disputes over industrial logging, mining and land rights are the key drivers, and Latin America and Asia-Pacific particularly hard hit.

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20 thoughts on “Brazilian rancher murdered US environmentalist nun

  1. Indigenous leaders arrested

    Brazil: Two indigenous leaders were arrested and thrown in a maximum security jail for defending their tribal lands, Brazil’s Catholic bishops conference has revealed.

    Chief Rosivaldo Ferreira da Silva and his brother Givaldo Ferreira da Silva were held by police for denouncing the alleged invasion of tribal lands by wealthy landowners who oppose the government’s declaration of a new Amazonian people’s reservation at Tupinamba.

    “The jailing of these two important indigenous leaders in a federal maximum security prison constitutes another arbitrary act by the Federal Police,” the bishops declared.


  2. Brazil’s Proposed Belo Monte Dam Damns Amazonian Rainforests and Peoples

    By Rainforest Portal, a project of Ecological Internet
    April 25, 2010


    The Brazilian government continues with plans to build the massive Belo Monte Dam on the Xingu River in the Amazon rainforest, despite massive domestic and international opposition. The 11.2 billion dollar dam will flood an estimated 500 square kilometers of the Amazon rainforest and threaten the survival of tens of thousands of indigenous and traditional peoples who depend on the Xingu River for their livelihoods. The Kayapó leader Raoni Metuktire, who gained international exposure touring the world with Sting, said indigenous men from the Xingu were preparing their bows and arrows in order to fight off the dam. “I think that today the war is about to start once more and the Indians will be forced to kill the white men again so they leave our lands alone.”



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