[11/29/2005] Landless Worker Assassinated in Alagoas

Jaelson Melquíades, member of the MST’s Coordinating Body for the State of Alagoas, has been assassinated in the municipality of Atalaia, a forested region of the state.

Jaelson, age 24, was murdered by two gunmen while he was visiting the Education Center of the MST’s São Pedro Settlement. Just four months ago, landless families won the right to this land and established the São Pedro settlement.

Violence and Impunity:

According to the Pastoral Land Commission (CPT), 39 rural workers have fallen victim to the land conflict this year. In 2004, 74 were killed.

Pernambuco has also seen an escalation of violence. At the end of October of this year, three rural workers were assassinated in less than four days. Hanilton Martins, leader of the MLST (Movement for the Liberation of the Landless) was murdered in Itaíba where he was shot in the face 18 times. Landless worker and farmer Antonio José dos Santos was murdered in the town of Tacaimbo, on his way to a local store to purchase cigarettes. His body showed signs of beatings as well as torture. On the 30th of October, Luiz Manuel, president of the Rural Workers’ Union of Taquaritinga do Norte, was assassinated when two shots were fired into his home.

On the 20th of November of this year, Landless Workers held a remembrance event one year after the Felisburgo Slaughter, in Minas Gerais, where five landless workers were assassinated and another 20 wounded. On orders from landowner Adriano Chafik Luedy, 18 hired gunmen entered the MST’s Terra Prometida (Promised Land) Encampment, in Felisburgo. Only two of the culprits are currently being held: Chafik and Erivaldo Pólvora de Oliveira Jr., both arrested on August 28th.

In Portuguese –

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Also, see what has been reported in Brazil's Folha de Sao Paulo: