American Nun Assassinated in Brazil
During the public wake Brazilians
mourn over the coffin of U.S. missionary Dorothy Stang two days after she was
two gunmen on February 12,
2005. Brazilian police scoured dense Amazon jungle for the suspected killers
of the 74 year-old U.S.
nun who was gunned down after
defending peasant farmers from illegal loggers and ranchers for the past three
An American nun who spent
decades fighting efforts by loggers and large landowners to expropriate lands
and clear large areas of
rainforest was shot to death on Saturday in northern Brazil.
Sr Dorothy Stang, 74, was shot in the face three times near the town of Anapu,
about 1800 km north of Sao Paulo in the Amazon
police officer Fernando Raiol said. The early morning attack came less than a
week after Stang met Human Rights
Miranda to report that four local farmers had received death threats from
loggers and landowners.
Last year, loggers accused Sr Stang of inciting violence in the region and
supplying weapons and ammunition to local people, a claim
her family denies.
"This is extremely serious," Miranda told reporters. "We cannot allow this
murder to go unpunished."
The Brazilian government compared the murder with the 1988 killing of Chico
Mendes, the renowned rubber tapper who drew
attention to Amazon rainforest destruction.
"It's the type of crime that shows a profound disrespect for a democratic
society, like the crime against Chico Mendes," Justice Minister
Marcio Thomaz Bastos
told the Estado news agency.
The Church's Land Pastoral in Brazil, an organisation that helps landless
farmers, condemned the incident as an "assassination."
Stang, a members of the Sisters of Notre Dame of Namur, is native of Dayton,
Ohio. She had lived in Brazil since the early 1960s and
worked in the region
for more than 20 years. She was headed to a meeting with local peasants when her
group was attacked, police
said. No one else
Two suspects have been taken into custody, police said.
Stang's niece Angela Mason, who lives in Dayton, Ohio, said her aunt had told
her family there was a price on her head.
"She was basically protected by her status as being an old lady and being a nun.
She also recently became a Brazilian citizen, and she
would help but it obviously didn't," Mason said.
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva ordered a thorough investigation
into Stang's murder.
About 15 federal officers were immediately dispatched to the crime scene, police
said. Miranda and Environment Minister Marina Silva
also were sent to
Anapu to oversee the investigation.
Last June, Stang was honoured by the state of Para for her work in the Amazon
region. In December, she received an award from the
Association for her work helping the local rural workers.
"She was awesome. A little old bundle of joy," Mason said. "She was the happiest
person. She needed nothing. She just loved the
people down there."
American Nun Shot to Death in Brazil (The Guardian/Associated Press 13/2/05)
Urgent Action Appeal on behalf of Sister Dorothy Stang
Sisters of Notre
Domae de Namur |
Sister Dorothy Stang murdered in Brazil |
Congregation bonded in grief, shock; leadership reacts
MORE SR DOROTHY STANG STORIES
American Nun Shot to Death in Brazil (The Herald-Sun Durham North
Carolina/Associated Press 12/2/05)
Nun Battling Loggers in Brazil Slain (Associated Press/Los Angeles Times
American missionary killed in Brazil (Sydney Morning Herald 14/2/05)
14 Feb 2005