Retrial Ordered in Murder of American Nun

Thursday, April 09, 2009
Dorothy Stang

A three-judge panel has ordered a Brazilian rancher to again stand trial for the murder of Dorothy Stang, a 73-year-old nun from Ohio who was murdered in 2005 while campaigning to save the Amazon rainforest. Vitalmiro Bastos de Moura was first tried in 2007, found guilty, and sentenced to 70 years in prison for killing Stang. But the conviction was thrown out by an appellate court after Moura’s accomplice, Rayfran das Neves Sales, claimed that he alone murdered Stang; Sales was then convicted and sentenced to 28 years in prison. Moura, though, is now headed back to jail to await his second trial after the judicial panel ruled that a video tape used by his defense team should not have been shown to the jury during his first trial.

Stang had campaigned for 30 years on behalf of poor farmers in Brazil, and to preserve the rain forest from loggers and developers. She was in the process of trying to save a tract of land from ranchers who wanted to clear it for grazing when she was shot six times in the town of Anapu in Para, a northern frontier state that has lost huge sections of its rainforest to development.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Sister Dorothy Stang and the People of the Amazon (by Angelo Lopez, Everyday Citizen)


Leave a comment