[6/20/05] Urgent Action Needed in Para
Urgent Action Called for by Rio Maria Committee of the United States
DELAY IN THE IMPRISONMENT OF ONE OF THE RANCHERS CONVICTED OF ORDERING THE ASSASSINATION OF JOÃO CANUTO
Vantuir Gonçalves de Paula was sentenced after a trial by jury in Belém (state of Pará) in May of 2003, along with Adilson Laranjeira, the former mayor of Rio Maria, to nineteen years and ten months of prison for the 1985 assassination of João Canuto de Oliveira, president of the Union of Rural Workers of Rio Maria. After having lost their appeal to the Court of Justice of Pará, the two convicted criminals are still walking around free. Meanwhile, Laranjeira has appealed the sentence to the Supreme Judicial Court, but Gonçalves de Paula missed the deadline for doing so. So his sentence should have gone into effect on March 28. But this has not happened because of the slowness of the bureaucracy of the court. The documents to enact his sentence have been sitting on the desk of the President of the state Court of Justice since March.
We may recall the national and international repercussions regarding the case of João Canuto, for which the legal process delayed eighteen years before reaching a judgment. This resulted in the condemnation of the Brazilian Government by the Interamerican Commission of the Organization of American States. That was two years ago, and the two convicted men are still free!
So we are asking you to send letters to the President of the State Court of Justice and to the federal Minister of Justice, asking them to decree the imprisonment of Vantuir Gonçalves de Paula immediately. This imprisonment of this rancher convicted of having ordered the assassination of a rural worker over land issues in the south of Pará will help to destroy the general image of impunity, and will discourage the planning of other assassinations in this region and other parts of the country.
Desembargador Milton Nobre
Presidente do Tribunal de Justiça do Estado do Pará
Largo São João s/n Cidade Velha
66015-260 Belém PA, Brasil
Fax: (91) 32182454
email: des.milton.nobre @ tj.pa.gov.br
Márcio Tomaz Bastos
Ministro da Justiça
Esplanada dos Ministérios
Bloco T - Ed. Sede – 4° Andar
70064-900 Brasília, DF, Brasil
Fax: (61) 3226817
I am writing to express my concern with regard to the enactment of the sentence of Vantuir Gonçalves de Paula. He is the rancher who was sentenced on May 23, 2003, to nineteen years and ten months of prison by the Jury in the Court of Belém for ordering the assassination of union leader João Canuto de Oliveira, which occurred on December 18, 1985.
Vantuir Gonçalves de Paula, who lost his first appeal of the sentence in the state court, missed the deadline for appealing to the Supreme Judicial Court. His sentence should have gone into effect on March 28. But I have learned that, incredible as it may seem, this has not yet happened.
Please see to it that this man is imprisoned immediately. A convicted murderer should not be walking around freely.
The imprisonment of at least one rancher for ordering the assassination of a rural worker over the land question in the South of Pará will help to destroy the general image of impunity in Pará, and will discourage the planning of other assassinations in this and other regions of Brazil.