Brazilian rancher convicted in murder of US nun Dorothy Stang


Members of non-governmental organizations pay tribute to US nun Dorothy Stang in Brasilia on June 7, 2005. Stang was killed on February 12, 2005 in Pará, north of Brazil.



SAO PAULO, Brazil — A Brazilian court has convicted rancher Vitalmiro Bastos Moura of ordering the 2005 murder of US nun and activist Dorothy Stang over a land dispute.

Moura, 43, was convicted of homicide and sentenced to 30 years in jail.

This was his fourth trial, as he had appealed the previous three verdicts. His last conviction was overturned when the high court ruled Moura was not given enough time to prepare his defense in 2010.

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Other environmental activists had criticized Brazil's judiciary system for moving too slowly and being too lenient in responding to the 73-year-old's murder.

Stang was shot six times outside the small Brazilian town of Anapu, where she worked as an advocate for landless locals. She was known for being critical of cattle ranchers for taking land illegally and destroying the rainforest, and had tried to stop Moura's attempts to seize land.

Another rancher, Regivaldo Galvão, was also convicted of ordering Stang's murder. The Supreme Court ordered his release last year while he awaited the outcome of his appeal. He was sentenced to 30 years in jail in 2010.

Rayfran das Neves Sales, who confessed to carrying out Stang's killing, was released from prison after serving less than nine years of his 27-year sentence. A judge said he was entitled to serve the rest of his sentence under house arrest.

A fourth man charged with being involved in the murder plot is in jail and a fifth suspect is still at large.