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Brazil Identifies Four Suspects in US Nun Murder

Body of American nun Dorothy Stang leaves Anapu, state of Pará, BrazilFour men suspect of having murdered Dorothy Stang, a 74-year-old American Catholic nun working in Brazil, have been identified today by the Brazilian police, who did not divulge any name.

The crime happened on Saturday, February 12, at a settlement of 60 landless peasant families, 30 miles from the town of Anapu in the state of Pará, in the Brazilian Amazon. Stang was known to defend peasant farmers who were having disputes with loggers and ranchers.


While ranchers who opposed her called the nun a terrorist, friends and admirers use to call her “the angel of the Trans-Amazon.” The settlement where Stang was killed is part of sustainable development project run by the state government. She had been in the area since 1972 and had become a Brazilian citizen..


Loggers and ranchers have been encroaching on the area reserved for the peasants. Stang was known for telling small farmer not to sell or abandon, but to stay in their land and defend their rights,


The murder occurred in front of the land claimed by two property owners, Luis Angaretti and Regivaldo Galvão, known as “Taradão” (the big sex pervert).


Just hours after the nun’s killing there was another similar murder. In the more recent case, a worker from a neighboring settlement was shot and killed by eight armed men, According to the police, the man was murdered in front of his wife and five children.


According to Brazilian police, two of the suspects were pistoleiros (hired guns) and the two other were the ones who paid for the murder. Pará’s police also revealed that the American nun was killed with eight or nine bullets in the head and the thorax and died before she could be helped.  Earlier information indicated that there were three shots.


Brazil’s Human Rights Secretary, Nilmário Miranda, told reporters that the police wanted to wait before naming suspects, but added: “Everything indicates that a local rancher ordered the killing: the gunmen’s links, the history of killing contracts in the area.”


Saturday, Miranda had indicated that the presumed assassins were two killers known in the region as Eduardo and Fogoio.


Stang’s death occurred nine days after she told Miranda that she had received death threats. “They did nothing to protect Dorothy,” said Antonio Canuto, a leader of the Pastoral Land Commission, who worked with the American nun. “This government protects only big farmers,” he added.
 
Dorothy Stang’s body was transported by plane, this Sunday, from Anapu to Belém, the capital of Pará state, a trip of  700 km, in order to undergo an autopsy. She should be buried in Anapu, on Monday.
 
The identification of suspects was possible thanks to the testimony of two people who were with sister Dorothy when she was shot. Both witnesses have been placed under police protection, according to Brazilian authorities. 
 
In July 2004, Stang, who was a member of the Pastoral Land Commission, a Catholic church organization,  had received the prize Pará’s Citizen in recognition of her work. She had commented to friends that threats of death had intensified since she got the prize. 
 
Environmental group Greenpeace noted in a communiqué that Sister Dorothy had dedicated half of her life to the cause of the Brazilian landless. Anapu ranchers accused her of supplying guns to peasant farmers, something her friends dismissed as an absurd lie.


According to Greenpeace, there were 1237 murders in Brazil linked to land disputes, between 1985 and 2001. More than 40% of these killings occurred in the state of Pará.


BrM

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  • Show Comments (3)

  • Guest

    Death of Irma Dorothy Stang
    Irma Dorothy was my Aunt. Likely the closest link to heaven most of us will ever meet on earth. My family loved her so much and we miss her already. Please pray for her and her killers.

    Loving Nephew,

    Henry Richardson
    Columbus, OH USA

  • Guest

    Herbert M. Gillett, zimzum@ameritech.net
    Your Article In American English

    http://www.brazzilmag.com/content/view/1428/

    Brazil Identifies Four Suspects in US Nun Murder
    Written by Francesco Neves
    Sunday, 13 February 2005

    Body of American nun Dorothy Stang leaves Anapu, State of Pará, Brazil

    Four men suspected of having murdered Dorothy Stang, a 74-year-old American Catholic nun working in Brazil, have been identified today by the Brazilian police, who did not, however, divulge any of their names.

    The crime occurred on Saturday, February 12, at a settlement of 60 landless peasant families, 30 miles from the town of Anapu in the State of Pará, in the Brazilian Amazon. Stang was known as a defender of peasant farmers who were engaged in disputes with loggers and ranchers.

    While ranchers who opposed her called the nun a terrorist, friends and admirers used to call her “the angel of the Trans-Amazon.” The settlement where Stang was killed is part of a sustainable development project run by the Para State government. She had been in the area since 1972 and had become a Brazilian citizen.

    Loggers and ranchers have been encroaching on the areas reserved for the peasants. Stang was known for telling small farmers not to sell or abandon their land, but to stay on and defend their rights.

    The murder occurred at the entrance to a piece of land claimed by two big property owners, Luis Angaretti, and Regivaldo Galvão, known as “Taradão” (the big sex pervert).

    According to Brazilian police, two of the suspects were pistoleiros (hired guns) and the other two were the men who paid for the murder. Pará’s police also revealed that the American nun was shot eight or nine times in the head and the thorax, and died immediately. Earlier reports had it that she was only shot three times.

    Brazil’s Human Rights Secretary, Nilmário Miranda, told reporters that the police wanted to wait before naming the suspects, but added, “Everything indicates that a local rancher ordered the killing: the gunmen’s links, the history of killing contracts in the area.”

    Saturday, Miranda had indicated that the presumed assassins were two killers known in the region as Eduardo and Fogoio.

    Stang’s death occurred nine days after she told Miranda that she had received death threats. “They did nothing to protect Dorothy,” said Antonio Canuto, a leader of the Pastoral Land Commission, who worked with the American nun. “This government protects only big farmers,” he added.

    Dorothy Stang’s body was transported by plane this Sunday from Anapu to Belém, the capital of Pará State, a trip of 700 km, in order to undergo an autopsy. She should be buried in Anapu on Monday.

    The identification of the suspects was possible thanks to the testimony of two people who were with Sister Dorothy when she was shot. Both witnesses have been placed under police protection, according to Brazilian authorities.

    In July 2004, Stang, who was a member of the Pastoral Land Commission, a Catholic Church organization, had received the Pará’s Citizen Prize in recognition of her work. She had commented to friends that death threats had intensified since she got the prize.

    The environmental group Greenpeace noted in a communiqué that Sister Dorothy had dedicated half of her life to the cause of the Brazilian landless. Anapu ranchers accused her of supplying guns to peasant farmers, something her friends dismissed as an absurd lie.

    Just hours after the nun’s killing there was another similar murder. In that case, a worker from a neighboring settlement was shot and killed by eight armed men. According to the police, the man was murdered in front of his wife and five children.

    According to Greenpeace, there were 1237 murders in Brazil linked to land disputes between 1985 and 2001. More than 40% of these killings occurred in the State of Pará.

    BrM

    Comments of Sr. Pat Rooks, S.N.D. de Namur
    Written by Guest on 2005-02-14 14:21:04:
    “This is a terrible injustice and should incite others to protect the rights of the poor land owners and of Mother Earth. Her life has been a blessing for the poor and her dedication to sustainable agriculture will continue to change the hearts of all.”

  • Guest

    Sr. Pat Rooks, S.N.D. de Namur
    This is a terrible unjustice and should incite others to protect the rights of the poor land owners and of Mother Earth. Her life has been a blessing for the poor and her dedication to sustainable agriculture will continue to change the hearts of all.

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