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Last Updated: Sunday, 13 February, 2005, 03:30 GMT
US missionary murdered in Brazil
Dorothy Stang
Dorothy Stang was shot at point-blank range
A US Catholic missionary who had been honoured for human rights work has been shot dead in the Brazilian Amazon.

Dorothy Stang, a nun in her 70s, had repeatedly reported receiving death threats because of her work in protecting the people of the Amazon.

Police said two gunmen shot her in the face three times at an isolated jungle settlement in the state of Para.

Human Rights Minister Nilmario Miranda said two suspects in the case had already been identified.

He said putting those responsible behind bars was "a matter of honour" for the Brazilian government.

Another member of the Brazilian cabinet, Environment Minister Marina Silva, compared Sister Dorothy's murder to the killing of trade union leader Chico Mendes, a campaigner for the rainforest whose death in 1988 sparked worldwide outrage.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has sent ministers and police teams to the area to bring her killers to justice.

She was a member of the Congregation of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, an international Catholic religious order, and had lived in Brazil for more than 30 years.

She recently won an award from the Brazilian lawyers' association (OAB) for her work in the Amazon region, while the state of Para named her woman of the year.

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