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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 October 2007, 10:32 GMT 11:32 UK
Trial sees US nun's killer jailed
Dorothy Stang
Dorothy Stang was shot at point-blank range
A Brazilian judge has sentenced a gunman to 27 years in prison after his retrial for the murder of US-born nun and environmentalist Dorothy Stang.

Rayfran das Neves Sales was again found guilty of killing Sister Dorothy on the orders of two ranchers in 2005.

He had been granted an automatic retrial under Brazilian law because his first sentence was more than 20 years.

Sister Dorothy campaigned for poor farmers' rights and to preserve the rainforest from loggers and developers.

Her murder followed a dispute with ranchers over land they wanted to clear for pasture and she wanted to protect.

Rayfran das Neves Sales (left) and Clodoaldo Batista at their first trial in December 2005.
Sales (left) insisted no one had paid him to commit the crime
Sales admitted shooting Sister Dorothy, 73, on a remote track in the state of Para but denied he had been paid to kill her.

He again said he had acted in self-defence because she had threatened him and he feared for his life.

At his first trial he had said he mistook the bible she was taking out of her bag for a gun.

Disputes

Sales was again on trial at a court in the northern city of Belem. At the first hearing in December 2005, he was found guilty and given 27 years in jail, triggering the automatic retrial.

An accomplice, Clodoaldo Batista, was sentenced to 17 years and an intermediary, Amair Cunha, received 18 years.

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In May this year, rancher Vitalmiro Bastos Moura was sentenced to 30 years for paying gunmen to kill Sister Dorothy.

His automatic retrial is set for Thursday.

Another rancher, Regivaldo Galvao, has also been accused of ordering the nun's murder but has yet to be tried.

Both ranchers deny the charges.

In the past 30 years, more than 1,000 people have been killed in land disputes in Brazil, with some two-thirds of the murders happening in Para.

SEE ALSO
Rancher denies US nun's killing
14 May 07 |  Americas
Third man jailed for US nun death
27 Apr 06 |  Americas
Amazon nun's killers are jailed
11 Dec 05 |  Americas
'No impunity' for Amazon killers
22 Feb 05 |  Americas
Murder prompts Brazil Amazon curb
18 Feb 05 |  Americas
Brazil farmers bury activist nun
16 Feb 05 |  Americas

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