EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 19/24/91
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
BRAZIL: Carlos CABRAL PEREIRA
Roberto NETO da SILVA
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
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