Brother of Murdered American Nun Looking for Justice in Brazil

    The brother of the slain American missionary, Dorothy Stang, David, is in Brazil. He participated in a meeting, Thursday. September 22, with the Federal Public Defense Ministry in Belém.

    He was accompanied by the special consul from Washington, Jeffrey T. Hsu, the consultant for the case in Washington, Blake Rushforth, and the lawyer, Brent N. Rushforth.


    The American nun, who was a naturalized Brazilian, was murdered on February 12 of this year in Anapu, in the state of Pará, in Northern Brazil.


    “They are here to demand all the steps that are necessary, including what was expressed in the letter that was recently made public, and they will deliver a second letter, highlighting grievances in the legal sphere connected with the development of the case, to the president of the Pará Court of Justice, judge Milton Nobre,” affirmed José Batista Afonso, a lawyer who represents the Catholic Church’s Pastoral Commission for the Land and was also present at the meeting.


    The Stang family has been accompanying the investigations into the crime and the measures adopted by the government and the courts with respect to the case. In August the family sent a letter to President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.


    “Shortly after our sister’s death, you promised the world you would defy the impunity that exists in Pará. While we are consoled by your pledge to punish our sister’s killers and set aside land for the landless and areas of conservation, we have seen very little in the way of concrete actions,” says a passage in the letter.


    According to José Batista Afonso, the interested parties intend to press the Pará Court of Justice to rule in favor of the request to transfer the trial from the bailiwick of Pacajá (PA) to the capital, Belém.


    They are also asking for there not to be separate juries for the hired gunmen and the authors of the crime and that all the culprits sit together in the defendant’s box.


    Five individuals accused of involvement in Stang’s murder are being held in prison in Belém. They are: the two hired gunmen, Rayfran das Neves, who did the shooting, and Cloadoaldo Batista (Eduardo), who was with Neves at the moment of the crime; the go-between, Amair Feijoli da Cunha (Tato); and the two landowners accused of being the authors of the crime, Vitalmiro Bastos de Moura (Bida) and Regivaldo Pereira Galvão.


    The landowners filed for habeas corpus in the Pará courts and the Federal Appeals Court (STJ), in order to stand trial at liberty, but the courts refused the requests.


    On June 8, the STJ unanimously denied a request by the General Prosecutor of the Republic, Cláudio Fontelles, to transfer the Stang murder trial to federal jurisdiction.


    Stang had worked for over 30 years with small communities in Pará for land ownership rights and the sustainable utilization of the Amazon.


    Agência Brasil

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