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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Sister Dorothy Stang

The body of Sister Dorothy Stang arrives in Anapu, where she was murdered two days earlier.
I'm poking around and I come across a mention of a murder in Brazil. Dorothy Stang was a nun working with poor farmers who was killed by the local capos back in 2005. I'm reading the Wikipedia story about her and I find the section about the trials of the killers confusing, so I pulled it apart and organized it the way I thought it should be done. It doesn't paint an encouraging picture of Brazilian justice, but then this is the rain forest, so I guess we should be grateful that they even pretended to have a trial. Or ten.

Prosecutors said Moura had ordered Stang's death because she had sent letters to the local authorities accusing Moura of setting illegal fires to clear land, which led to his receiving a substantial fine. 

Roniery Lopes, a witness in the trial of Regivaldo Galvão for fraud, was shot in November 2009, just before he was to testify.

The US Attorney's Office, Transnational Crime Unit, in Washington, DC, pursued an indictment of the four people under a statute on international homicide. The key elements of this statute require 

  1. the victim be a US citizen, 
  2. that the murder take place outside the US, and 
  3. that the murder was carried out to influence, pressure, or coerce a government or civilian group. 

Stang's murder met all the key elements. In June 2005, two men were charged with conspiracy to murder an American outside the United States in connection with her death. 

I'm not really sure what the US Attorney's involvement here was. Perhaps it was just a matter of political pressure. All the trials seemed to have taken place in Brazil, so I don't see how any US law could have any bearing on the matter.

Clodoaldo Carlos Batista
2005 December 10, convicted. Nothing else is said. I suspect he couldn't afford a good lawyer.

Rayfran das Neves Sales
2005 December 10, tried, found guilty and sentenced him to 27 years in prison
2007 October 22 tried and found guilty, and a judge in Belém sentenced him to 27 years in prison
2008 May 6 tried, found guilty and sentenced to 28 years in prison.
2013 July released from prison.
2014 September 20 was arrested again facing accusations of having killed a young man and woman with whom he had a drug deal. They supplied 50 kilograms of cocaine from Bolivia, but instead of paying them for the consignment, Sales fatally shot them.

Regivaldo Pereira Galvão, a rancher suspected of ordering the killing, 
? arrested and charged with the murder and released.
2008 December arrested and charged with the murder. 
2007 May 15, city of Belém, sentenced to 30 years in prison.
2010 May 1 tried, convicted
2012 August 21, the Brazilian Supreme Court conceded an habeas Corpus to Regivaldo Galvão. The defense attorney claims that jury decided to condemn Reginaldo before all the legal recourses available to the defendant were exhausted. Regivaldo Galvão was freed the following day.

Vitalmiro Bastos de Moura, aged 36, ordered Stang's death. 
In a second trial, Moura was acquitted of all charges, because the gunman, Rayfran das Neves Sales, declared in court to have killed Dorothy Stang for personal motivation. 
2009 April 7 the Court of Justice, in Pará, decided to void the third trial. 
2009 April 22 Superior Court of Justice of Brazil freed him pending a decision about his request of Habeas corpus.
2010 February 4 Superior Court of Justice revoked his habeas corpus.
2010 February 7 arrested after surrendering voluntarily to police.
2010 April 12 tried, convicted and sentenced to 30 years in prison.
2013 May 15 Brazil’s Supreme Court overturned the conviction
2013 September 19, Pará State, tried, convicted and sentenced to 30 years in prison

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