Brother of slain U.S. nun sees fresh hope in film

Fri Jan 30, 2009 8:38pm EST
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By Stuart Grudgings

BELEM, Brazil (Reuters) - A documentary movie about the killing of U.S. Roman Catholic nun Dorothy Stang in the Amazon four years ago has renewed her brother's hope that those suspected of ordering her killing will finally be convicted.

Stang, 73, was gunned down in 2005 after years spent helping the poor in Brazil's Amazon region defend the rain forest and their rights against powerful landowners.

Three people, including two gunmen, are in jail for her killing. But one of the ranchers suspected of ordering the murder had his conviction overturned last year and another, Regivaldo Pereira Galvao, was arrested only last month and now awaits trial.

"The film has been very influential in the rearrest of Regivaldo," David Stang told Reuters at the World Social Forum in the Amazon city of Belem, where thousands of activists are gathered this week.

He said footage in the film "They Killed Sister Dorothy" showing Galvao denying at the Supreme Court he had an ownership claim on Lot 55, the land where the nun was killed, was helping prosecutors to reopen the case against him.

Galvao, arrested in 2005 but who used appeals to avoid a trial, last year submitted documents to Brazil's land reform agency showing he owns the disputed land and wants it back, casting doubt on his main defense.

He had argued he had no claim to the land and therefore no motive to kill the nun.

David Stang, 71, a former Catholic missionary in Africa who now lives in Colorado, visits Brazil frequently to push for justice for his sister, who was born in Ohio and became a naturalized Brazilian citizen.   Continued...