A Step Closer to Truth in the Death of "The Rainforest Martyr"

Sr. Dorothy Stang, a 74-year-old US nun, read the Bible aloud when the men came to kill her. They listened for a moment. then fired--there in the Amazon rainforest she loved enough to protect with her own life. She had lived among wealthy enemies for 30 years in the Amazon jungle, trying to preserve the environment and defend the rights of poor settlers against powerful ranchers eager to steal their land. Her corpse, lying face down in the mud just over four years ago in 2005, was shot pointblank six times: in the head, throat and body.

"Death in the Amazon" (4:20):

A rancher accused of ordering her murder is now charged with trying to fraudulently obtain the plot of Amazon rain forest she died trying to defend, a prosecutor stated yesterday. Rancher Regivaldo Galvao previously testified he had no interest in the property that 73-year-old Dorothy Stang protected, but prosecutors say Galvao presented documents to Brazil's Incra land reform agency in November asserting he owns the disputed land and demanding its return.

Federal prosecutor Felicio Pontes denies Galvao's claim that the land where Stang was killed is public. It is possible that Galvao's attempt to take the land will help convict him of killing the Dayton, Ohio nun.

"It will help the case of Dorothy's murder," Pontes stated, according to Associated Press Writer Bradley Brooks. "The case is still open and we can use the facts from this land case in Dorothy's. He is going to be found guilty, I have no doubt."

Prosecutors contend Galvao and another rancher hired the gunmen who killed Stang. Although he was arrested in 2005, he was freed on bail in 2006 and has since avoided trial through various legal maneuvers.

An acclaimed HBO documentary film, "They Killed Sister Dorothy," will air on HBO2 pay service Wednesday, March 25, 8-9:30 p.m. EDT. It treats the life and mission of Sister Dorothy, who admirers called "The Angel of the Amazon," in her quest for sustainable living practices.

"They Killed Sister Dorothy" trailer (3:28):

After she received several death threats Sister Dorothy commented, "I don't want to flee, nor do I want to abandon the battle of these farmers who live without any protection in the forest. They have the sacrosanct right to aspire to a better life on land where they can live and work with dignity while respecting the environment."

--crossposted on Border Explorer


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