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Page last updated at 09:32 GMT, Tuesday, 13 April 2010 10:32 UK

Brazil man jailed for murdering nun Dorothy Stang

Dorothy Stang  in February 2004
Dorothy Stang was shot six times and left lying in the mud

A Brazilian rancher has been convicted of murdering US nun Dorothy Stang in 2005 and jailed for 30 years, at his third trial over the case.

Vitalmiro Bastos Moura was sentenced to 38 years in jail at a first trial in 2007, but acquitted on retrial the following year.

Suspicions he had bribed a witness to change his testimony led the court to keep him in prison.

The killing in Para state caused an outcry in Brazil and internationally.

Moura ordered the killing of Ms Stang because she blocked him and another rancher from taking over land the government had given to small farmers, prosecutors said.

The verdict came late at night in the Amazon city of Belem, after the jury had deliberated for 15 hours.

Ms Stang, who was 73 when she was killed, worked in the Amazon for 30 years to preserve the rainforest and protect the rights of rural workers against large-scale farmers wanting to take their land.

She was shot dead as she walked along a muddy rainforest track in the town of Anapu in Para, a northern frontier state where loggers and ranchers have deforested huge tracts of rainforest.

The two confessed hitmen who killed her said Moura and another rancher still to be tried had paid them to do it.

"This conviction sends a strong message... that the impunity is ending," nun Rebeca Spires, who knew Ms Stang for 35 years, is quoted as saying by the Associated Press news agency.

Human rights groups say violence is a usual way to settle land disputes in the Amazon.

Many people have been murdered, but their killers rarely go to jail.



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SEE ALSO
Brazil nun accused 'back in jail'
07 Feb 10 |  Americas
Brazil nun case witness is shot
29 Nov 09 |  Americas
Brazil nun death retrial ordered
07 Apr 09 |  Americas
Rancher freed over US nun killing
07 May 08 |  Americas
Trial sees US nun's killer jailed
23 Oct 07 |  Americas
Q&A: The Amazon Paradox
12 May 08 |  Americas

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FROM OTHER NEWS SITES
The Independent Five years on, the murdered 'Angel' is avenged - 11 hrs ago
Al Jazeera Brazilian sentenced for nun murder - 19 hrs ago
Yahoo! UK and Ireland Brazilian rancher jailed for US nun's 2005 murder - 21 hrs ago
Guardian.co.uk Brazilian rancher jailed for ordering US nun's murder - 23 hrs ago
FOXNews.com Brazilian Rancher Guilty in Ohio Nun's Murder - 27 hrs ago


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