Brazil: rancher claims land US nun Dorothy Stang defended
rahul | November 11, 2008 at 07:17 pmby
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As Brazilian President Lula received a phone call from just elected Barack Obama, there were signals of greater bilateral relations. However, other issues are in their pending agenda: the unfortunate killing of US nun Dorothy Stang.
2008-11-11 23:34:03 - BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) - A Brazilian rancher suspected in the slaying of a U.S. nun now claims he owns land she died trying to defend, a prosecutor said Tuesday.The action by Regivaldo Galvao appears to cast doubt on one of his alibis in the 2005 slaying of Dorothy Stang: Galvao long insisted he had no motive to kill Stang because he had no interest in the plot of Amazon rain forest he now seeks. Prosecutor Felicio Pontes told The Associated Press that Galvao went before Brazil's Incra land reform agency last week to present documents showing he owns the disputed land deep in Para state. Incra sent The Associated Press an e-mail confirming that Galvao presented a claim on the land.
Stang, 73, was born in Dayton, Ohio, and spent three decades trying to preserve the rain forest and defending the rights of poor settlers who confronted powerful ranchers seeking their lands on the Amazon's wild frontier. Prosecutors say Galvao and another rancher hired men to kill Stang over the land she said should be brought under federal protection. Galvao was freed on bail by Brazil's Supreme Court in 2006 and he has since used appeals to avoid trial. «Everything has now changed,» Pontes said. «He always denied any involvement with the crime and (said) that he had no interest in that land. With this meeting with Incra, he showed that he has direct interest and always had. The AP could not locate a phone number to contact Galvao. Pontes said he has asked police to investigate the authenticity of the land deeds Galvao presented to Incra but declined to say what other legal action might be taken. Confessed gunman Rayfran das Neves Sales was sentenced last year to 28 years in prison and remains behind bars. But the 2007 conviction of the other suspected mastermind in the killing _ rancher Vitalmiro Moura _ was overturned earlier this year following conflicting testimony by das Neves and he was freed.
Unclear land ownership in the vast Amazon region has prompted frequent confrontations between settlers and ranchers, who often use forged deeds and force poor farmers off at gunpoint.
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