Acquittal of the Fazendeiro in the Death of Dorothy Stang is Nullified

By Luíse Desiree From São Paulo, the Radioagência NP April 7, 2009 The Justice Court of Pará nullified, on Tuesday (04/07/09), the trial that acquitted the rancher Vitalmiro Bastos de Moura. He is accused by prosecutors of the state of being one of the principals in the murder of missionary Dorothy Stang. The high court judges ordered the immediate arrest of the farmer until the new trial, which will still be marked. The Justices held that the trial should be overturned because the defense used an illegal evidence in displaying a video with the testimony of another participant in the crime to exonerate the farmer. The national coordinator of the Pastoral Land Commission (CPT) and lawyer of the family of Dorothy Stang, João Batista Afonso, stressed the importance of the decision of the court: "According to CPT, there have been more than 800 murders here in Pará, in the last thirty years, without an instigator behind bars. The acquittal of Vitalmiro Bastos was a more scandalous result. The annulment of the trial is an important step in this fight against impunity for murders of clients in the field of Pará." The farmer reported that the defense will appeal the cancellation of the trial and will seek habeas corpus. In the same session, the high court judges also canceled the trial of Rayfran das Neves, who was sentenced to 27 years imprisonment as executor of Dorothy. For the high court judges, the jury did not consider that Neves has committed the crime for the promise of reward. If this had occurred, the penalty of Rayfran could be greater. The American missionary was executed in February 2005 in the municipality of Anapu in the state of Pará.