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Further information on UA 65/91 (AMR 19/06/91, 22 February and follow-up AMR 19/08/91, 8 March): Brazil: death threats: Carlos Cabral Pereira, Roberto Neto da Silva, Orlando Canuto

, N° d'index: AMR 19/024/1991

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 19/24/91
Distr: UA/SC
9 September 1991
Further information on UA 65/91 (AMR 19/06/91, 22 February 1991 and Follow-up,
AMR 19/08/91, 8 March 1991) - Death Threats
Roberto NETO da SILVA
Orlando CANUTO
Amnesty International has learned with concern of the Minister of Justice's
stated intention to withdraw Federal Police protection from Carlos Cabral
Pereira, Roberto Neto da Silva and Orlando Canuto, rural union leaders of Rio
Maria, Pará state.
On 22 February 1991 Amnesty International expressed its concern for the
safety of the above mentioned union leaders, together with that of Father Ricardo
Rezende, from the same township, who have been receiving repeated death threats.
(see UA 65/91, AMR 19/06/91 and AMR 19/08/91, 22 February and 8 March 1991).
Amnesty International's concern for their safety followed the assassination
on 2 February 1991 of Expedito Ribeiro de Souza, president of the Rural Workers
Union of Rio Maria (see UA 40/91, AMR 19/02/91, 6 February 1991). Three men
have been arrested and are awaiting trial, charged with his crime.
Following strong domestic and international pressure the Brazilian
Government granted Federal Police protection to Carlos Cabral Pereira, Roberto
Neto da Silva and Orlando Canuto, and Military Police protection to father
Ricardo Rezende, but the situation in Rio Maria has since remained very tense.
On 4 March 1991 Carlos Cabral Pereira and Roberto Neto da Silva were
shot at from behind the local cemetery wall, near the spot where João Canuto
de Oliveira, a former president of the same union of which Carlos Cabral is
president, was killed in 1985. A man was detained and charged with the shooting
but subsequently released on 13 August 1991. On 21 August 1991 six gunshots
were allegedly fired at the home of father Ricardo Rezende by an unknown gunman.
On 26 August 1991 three gunmen, among them one charged with the murder of two
brothers of Orlando Canuto on 22 April 1990 and the other an important witness
in the same incident, escaped from the prison of Curianopolis, a township near
Rio Maria.
Against this background it was reported that the Federal Police informed
Carlos Cabral Pereira, Roberto Neto da Silva and Orlando Canuto of its intention
to withdraw their protection from 3 September 1991. The decision has not yet
materialized, allegedly because of the intervention of the Attorney General's
Office. Amnesty International believes that continuous police protection is
still essential for the personal safety of the rural union leaders as well
as of father Ricardo Rezende.
Members and leaders of rural trade unions representing peasants and their
families in southern Pará have been the targets of death threats, assaults,
abductions and killings. Expedito Ribeiro de Souza was the fourth leader of
the Rio Maria Union to be murdered since 1985. Among the murdered are the father
and two brothers of Orlando Canuto. 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 persistently failed to take
effective action to prevent or investigate the killings or to bring those
responsible to justice.
FURTHER RECOMMENDED ACTION: Telegrams/telexes/faxes and airmail letters:
- requesting special police protection for Carlos Cabral Pereira, Roberto Neto
da Silva, Orland Canuto and father Ricardo Rezende to be continued.
- urging an inquiry into the shooting at the home of father Ricardo Rezende.
- expressing concern at the escape of José de Ribamar Rodrigues Lopes, José
Ubiratam Matos Ubirajara and Marivaldo Ribeiro da Silva from the prison of
Curianópolis on 26 August 1991 and urging an inquiry into the incident.
Sr. Ministro de Justiça do Brasil
Sr. Jarbas Passarinho
Ministério de Justiça
Esplanada dos Ministerios
Bloco 23
70.064 Brasilia DF, Brazil
Telegrams: Ministro Justiça, Brasilia, Brazil
Telexes: 611003 MNJU BR; 611088 MNJU BR;
6122313 MNJU BR
Faxes: + 55 61 224 4357
Sr. Governador do Estado do Pará
Sr. Jáder Barbalho
Palacio Lauro Sodré
Praça D. Pedro II
66.000 Belém, PA, Brazil
Telegrams: Governador Pará, Belém, Brazil
Telexes: 911012 GOPA BR or 916978 GOPA BR
Sr. Secretário de Segurança Publica
Estado do Pará
Sr. Alcides Alcantara
Rua 28 de Setembro 339
66.020 Belem, PA, Brazil
Telegrams: Secretario de Segurança Publica,
Belém, Brazil
Telexes: 911100 SSPB BR
Pastoral Land Commission:
Comissão Pastoral da Terra
Rua 14 de Abril N. 1400
Centro Social Sagrado Coração de Jesus
Caixa Postal 21
Conceição do Araguaia
CEP 68.540 Pará, Brazil
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 21 October 1991.

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