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UA 55/92 - Brazil: "disappearances": Domingos Mendes Cardoso, Joao (surname unknown); death threats: Atanagildo de Deus ("Gatao"), Expedito Pinheiro de Castro

, Index number: AMR 19/003/1992

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 19/03/92
Distr: UA/SC
UA 55/92 "Disappearances" and Death Threats 17 February 1992
BRAZIL:
"Disappearances":
Domingos MENDES CARDOSO (Peasant)
João (surname unknown) (Peasant)
Death Threats:
Atanagildo de DEUS ("Gatão") (Trade Union Leader)
Expedito PINHEIRO de CASTRO (Peasant)
Amnesty International is concerned about the reported "disappearance" on 4 January 1992
of two peasants, Domingos Mendes Cardoso and João (surname unknown), in the region of
Pimenteira, near Marabá, state of Pará. Amnesty International is also concerned about
reported death threats against Atanagildo de Deus, "Gatão", leader of Federação dos
Trabalhadores na Agricultura, Federation of Agricultural Workers, FETAGRI, and Expedito
Pinheiro de Castro, a peasant, who were demanding that the "disappearances" be properly
investigated.
On 8 January 1992 the wife of Domingos Mendes Cardoso reported to the police that her husband
had been missing since 4 January. The delegado, police chief, of Marabá police station
allegedly told her that he would not be able to go to the place of the "disappearance"
until the following week. Local people reported that on 5 January, armed guards from a
nearby fazenda, estate, detained two peasants, tied them up and took them back to the estate
where they are alleged to have been beaten up. Peasants living nearby reportedly heard
2 shots and later saw two bodies being taken away by the gunmen.
Witnesses reported the incident to the police, who opened an inquiry, but have failed so
far to find the bodies of the alleged victims. The whereabouts of Domingo Mendes Cardoso
and João have not been established. During the course of the police investigation, which
local human rights organizations claim was not properly conducted, the owner of the estate
where the alleged killings took place is reported to have made death threats against
Atanagildo de Deus "Gatão" and Expedito Pinheiro de Castro who were pressing for a thorough
inquiry. The threats were reportedly made in front of the police authorities, who do not
appear to have taken steps to protect the two men or to question the landowner. The landowner
is also reported to have threatened the witnesses of the incident.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION:
Peasants, members and leaders of rural trade unions representing peasants and their families
in Pará have been the targets of death threats, assaults, abductions and killings in the
context of disputes with local landowners. While Amnesty International takes no position
on competing claims in land disputes, it is concerned that gunmen allegedly acting on behalf
of landowners have carried out intimidation and killings of peasants, their leaders and
advisers with a high degree of impunity. The Brazilian authorities on all levels have,
in the vast majority of cases, failed to take effective action to prevent or investigate
the killings or to bring those responsible to justice.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Telegrams/telexes/faxes/airmail letters:
- expressing concern at the "disappearance" of Domingos Mendes Cardoso and João on 4 January
1992 and requesting that their cases should be thoroughly investigated and their whereabouts
disclosed;
- requesting that the authorities ensure the safety of the witnesses to enable them to
testify without fear of reprisal;
- requesting that the reported death threats against Atanagildo de Deus "Gatão" and Expedito
Pinheiro de Castro be thoroughly investigated and those responsible brought to justice.
page 2 of UA 55/92
APPEALS TO:
1) Minister of Justice:
Exmo Sr Jarbas Passarinho
Ministro da Justiça
Ministério da Justiça
Esplanado dos Minsterios
Bloco 23
70.064 Brasilia DF, Brazil
Telegrams: Ministro Justiça, Brasilia, Brazil
Telexes: 611003 MNJU BR, 611088 MNJU BR
Faxes: + 55 61 224 4357
Salutation: Vossa Excelência / Your Excellency
2) State Governor of Para:
Exmo Sr Jáder Barbalho
Governador do Estado do Para
Palacio Lauro Sodre Para
66.010 Belem PA Brazil
Telegrams: Governador Para, Belem, Brazil
Telexes: 911012 GOPA HR or 916978 GOPA BR
Salutation: Vossa Excelência / Your Excellency
3) State Secretary of Public Security:
Sr Secretario de Segurança Pública do Estado de Para
Sr Alcides Alcantara
Rua 28 de Setembro 339
66.020 Belem, PA Brazil
Telegrams: Secretario Segurança Pública, Belem, Brazil
Telexes: 911100 SSPB PR
Salutation: Vossa Excelência / Your Excellency
COPIES TO:
Attorney General's Office:
Dr Alvaro Ribeiro da Costa
Procuraduria Geral da Republica
Secretaria de Coordenação de Defesa
dos Direitos Individuais e dos Interesses Difusos
Avenida L2 Sul, SG AS 603, Lote 23 S.328
Brasilia, DF, Brazil
human rights organization:
Sociedade Paraense de Defesa dos Direitos Humanos
Núcleo Marabá
Rua 5 de Avril 498,
Caixa Postal 277,
CEP 68500 - Marabá - Pará, Brazil
Faxes: 55 91 321 1680
- and to diplomatic representatives of Brazil in your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat or your section
office, if sending appeals after 30 March 1992.

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