EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 19/07/94
UA 122/94 Arbitrary detention / Fear of ill-treatment 28 March 1994
BRAZILFrancisco de Asis Pinto DO NASCIMENTO, director of the Rural Workers'
Trade Union of Eldorado do Carajás
Salvador MURAO DE SOUZA
Estevão Alberto ROCHA DA SILVA
Francisco SOUSA LACERDO
Alziro José FERREIRA,
Raimundo Francisco DO NASCIMENTO
Raimundo PEREIRA DA SILVA
Francisco DOS REIS DOS SANTOS CHAVES
and three minors (names unknown) - all rural workers
On 21 March 1994, the 13 rural workers listed above were arrested by military
police during a raid on two communities in the municipality of Eldorado do
Carajás. Amnesty International is concerned that the arrests may be part of
a continuing pattern of harassment against rural workers and their
representatives in the context of disputed land in the region. The
organization's fears that the detainees may be ill-treated have been heightened
by allegations that the first three men named above have been beaten.
Some 50 military police were reportedly involved in the raid on the communities
of Agua-Fria and Pedra Furada, home to 150 families of rural workers. The
10 adults who were detained have been transferred to the Regional Police Station
in Marabá, where Francisco de Asis Pinto do Nascimento, Salvador Murao de Souza
and Estevão Alberto Rocha da Silva were allegedly beaten by military police.
Lawyers are seeking a medical examination for the three, and for the results
to be made public. It is believed that the three unnamed minors are being
held under the supervision of the judiciary in the town of Curionópolis.
The ten adults have been charged with "invading" the Abaeté estate, which borders
their land. They deny the charge. Some were reportedly detained whilst using
a public right of way which links the town of Eldorado with their own land,
and passes through the Abaeté estate.
One of the detainees, Alziro José Ferreira, is the son of Arnaldo Delcidio
Ferreira, who, when President of the Rural Workers Trade Union of Eldorado
do Carajás, was shot dead by a hired gunman on 2 May 1993. The owner of the
Abaeté estate was charged with commissioning his killing and detained in July
1993. In September 1993 he was released from custody and has since gone into
Another director of the Rural Workers Trade Union of Eldorado do Carajás, José
Teixeira Castilho, son-in-law of Arnaldo Delcidio Ferreira, has been in
detention without charge in the Regional Police Station of Marabá since 10
February (see UA 80/94, AMR 19/06/94, 2 March 1994). He has been accused,
though not charged, with involvement in a incident in which the ranch house
of the Abaeté estate was burned down.
Peasants members and leaders of rural trade unions in Pará state have been
targets of death threats, assaults, abductions and killing in the context of
land disputes with local landowners. While Amnesty International takes no