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Brazil Investigates Ring Behind Death of American Nun

The landowner, Vitalmiro Bastos de Moura, arrested on Sunday, March 27, may not be the sole author of the assassination of the American missionary Dorothy Stang, shot six times on February 12, in Anapu, state of Pará, Brazil.

This is one of the main conclusions of the external Senate commission formed to accompany the investigations into the crime.


The commission’s report refers to the existence of a possible consortium in Pará to pay for the murder of those opposed to the illegal extraction of wood and land squatting in the region.


Although it praises “the speedy clarification of the homicide” and the joint effort by the Federal, Civil, and Military police of the state of Pará – which “had a decisive influence on the success of the investigations” -, the commission’s final report emphasizes that this effort should extend beyond the arrest of the four suspects accused of the crime.


“The clarification of the crime, with the arrest of the perpetrators and a mastermind, does not imply the unraveling of the entire chain of authors of the crime and of a network that backs criminal activities contrary to the preservation of the forest and sustainable settlements,” the report states.


The report was approved today by a unanimous vote, 42 days after the work of the commission began.


For the president of the commission, Senator Ana Júlia Carepa, from Pará state, at least six other individuals are involved in the crime.


Without naming names, she said that “the history of these individuals is linked to violence against workers, and they need to be investigated.”


In her view, clarification of these items is essential for there not to be impunity and to make it possible for other, similar crimes to be averted.


“The report contains important points, such as the need to continue the investigation, so that we can dismantle this consortium once and for all. The way we see it, it contributed to the death of Sister Dorothy, but, unless it is dismantled, it will go on killing all those who oppose illegal exploitation of the Amazon, of our natural resources in a predatory manner.”


The external Senate commission held over 10 meetings, including five public hearings at which appeared Ministers and other representatives of the federal government, state officials, representatives of the Federal Public Interest Defense Ministry, members of the Land Pastoral Commission (CPT), and people connected to associations of rural producers, loggers, and rural workers in the region.


Translation: David Silberstein


Reporter – Agência Brasil

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