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Thursday, March 23, 2017
Brazil: Sister Dorothy Stang: killer convicted, mastermind acquitted
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 A Brazilian court sentenced the man who murdered American missionary Sister Dorothy Stang, to 28 years imprisonment yesterday. But it acquitted the rancher Vitalmiro Moura, known as 'Bida' who is believed to have ordered the killing. Rayfran das Neves Sales confessed to the shooting of Sr Dorothy on 12 February 2005 in Anapu, in the Amazonian State of Pará. Sr Dorothy had been campaigning on behalf of the landless rural farm-workers and against the devastation and pillaging of the Amazon forest by illegal cattle ranches/ The ruling, issued by a Belém court on Wednesday has sparked wide indignation. A jury voted 5-2 to acquit the rancher, who had been named in previous trials by the killer as the person who commissioned the murder. Moura allegedly provided Neves Sales with the gun that killed Sr Dorothy. He was originally sentenced to 30 years in prison, but in the retrial, Sales retracted his previous testimony, denying any involvement of the land-owner and claiming he had acted on his own, because he "felt threatened by the nun". Local judicial sources said Sales, who was a lowly-paid farm hand, changed his testimony because Sales was probably paying his legal fees. Sister Dorothy, was killed while on her way to the Esperança settlement, where since 1999 she had been working on a Sustainable Development Farming Project where 400 families of indigenous, mestizo and immigrant farmers lived. Monsignor Erwin Krautler, Bishop of Xingu, said: "Anyone who takes a stand alongside the marginalised in the Amazon automatically becomes an enemy of the loggers and diamond miners. Our martyr Dorothy Stang was killed because she believed in a different dream for the Amazon, because she defended sustainable development projects and fought for the settlement of simple people in need of farm land to live. She rejected the idea of the infinite growth of ranches that to expand don't accept any contrary voices". Source: MISNA
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