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UA 200/92 - Brazil: legal concern: Severo Da Silva (includes correction)

, Index number: AMR 19/012/1992

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 19/12/92
Distr: UA/SC
UA 200/92 Legal Concern 15 June 1992
BRAZIL: Severo DA SILVA (peasant)
Amnesty International is concerned about the circumstances surrounding the killing
on around 19 May 1992 of Severo da Silva, a peasant married with six children, in
the municipality of Santa Luzia, Maranhão state, Brazil.
According to information received by Amnesty International, Severo da Silva worked
in the fazenda Campo Limpo (Campo Lindo estate). Eight days before his death the
owner of the fazenda reportedly had an argument with him. The landowner, allegedly
surrounded by armed men, accused Severo da Silva of plotting a land invasion of his
Severo da Silva was allegedly last seen on 18 May in the landowner's car. On 19 May
the police found the body of Severo da Silva with several bullet wounds on the side
of the road. Witnesses who claim to have seen him in the car are reportedly afraid
to testify. The police reportedly buried him the same day without advising his family
and no police inquiry has been apparently opened to investigate the cause of his
death. Amnesty International is concerned at the circumstances surrounding Severa
da Silva's death suggesting possible connivance from the part the authorities.
Peasants, members of rural trade unions and their advisers have been the targets
of death threats, assaults, abductions and killings in the context of land disputes
in rural Brazil. 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.
Amnesty International considers that the persistent failure to prosecute the
perpetrators of such abuses may be evidence of acquiescence in the crimes by the
state authorities concerned, and may encourage them to be repeated.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/telephone calls/airmail letters:
- expressing concern at reports that no investigation has been opened into the killing
of Severo da Silva;
- urging that an immediate and effective inquiry be carried out into his death and
that those found responsible be brought to justice, ensuring that killings of this
kind do not continue to be carried out with impunity;
- requesting to be kept informed of the progress of the investigation.
Page 2 of UA 200/92
1. Minister of Justice:
Exmo. Sr. Ministro da Justiça Salutation: Vossa Excelência /
Sr. Célio Borja Your Excellency
Ministério da Justiça
Esplanada dos Ministérios
Bloco 23
70.064 Brasília, DF
Telegrams: Ministro Justiça, Brasília, Brazil
Telexes: 611003 MNJU BR, 611088 MNJU BR, 612313 MNJU BR
Faxes: + 55 61 2244357
2. State Governor:
Exmo. Sr. Governador do Estado do Maranhão Salutation: Vossa Excelência /
Sr. Edison Lobão Your Excellency
Palácio dos Leões
Av. Pedro II
65.000 São Luis - MA
Telegrams: Governador Maranhao, Sao Luis, Maranhao, Brazil
3. State Secretary of Public Security:
Exmo. Sr. Secretário de Segurança Pública Salutation: Sr. Secretário /
Estado de Maranhão Dear Sir
Sr. Jorge Rachid Mubarak
Rua da Palma, Nº 247 , Centro
65.000 - São Luis - MA, Brazil
Telegrams: Secreatio de Seguranca Publica, Sao Luis, Maranhao, Brazil
Telephone: + 55 98 232 1264/222 5737
Telexes: 982293
National Pastoral Land Commission:
Commissão Pastoral da Terra Nacional
Rua 20, 251 Central
Caixa Postal 749
74.000 Goiania
Goias, Brazil
Deputy Attorney General:
Subprocurador Geral da República
Dr Alvaro Augusto Ribeiro da Costa
Procuraduria Geral da República
Av. L2 Sul,
SGAS 603 Lote 23 S. 328
70.200 Brasília - DF
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 27 July 1992.

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