Brazil arrests 18 over high profile execution of Indian leader
Brazilian authorities have arrested 18 people in connection with the high profile killing of an indigenous leader by masked gunmen.
Religious leader Nísio Gomes was murdered in front of his Guarani community in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul last November. His body has never been found.
The list of suspects includes the owner of a notorious security firm which hires out gunmen to patrol areas of land occupied by ranchers.
Lawyers acting on behalf of Gaspem Segurança’s owner, Aurelino Arce, have so far failed to secure his release.
Brazil’s federal police have also linked other prominent suspects to Gomes’s murder, including six ranchers, a lawyer and a civil servant.
The charges brought against those arrested include: planning the attack, supplying arms, corrupting witnesses and fraud.
Brazil’s Guarani are repeatedly thrown off their land by cattle ranchers and forced to live in dangerous conditions by the roadside or in overcrowded reserves.
Assassinations of Guarani leaders by gunmen are also commonplace, in an effort to stop communities returning to their land.
Survival’s Director Stephen Corry said today, ‘This is a positive step, but Brazil should remember that Nísio isn’t the only indigenous activist to be murdered in cold blood. For years, powerful landowners have hired hit-men to kill those that challenge them. The culture of impunity must end if this situation is to change.’
Note to Editors:
Brazil’s federal police made 10 of these arrests in June and another 8 earlier this month.
Related news articles
- Olympics: Tribe facing “genocide” defies ranchers after baby’s death 4 August 2016
- Brazil: Outrage as Indians’ homes bulldozed, community evicted 8 July 2016
- Olympics: Torch reaches land of tribe facing “genocide” 22 June 2016
- Survival calls on UN to condemn shoot on sight conservation 30 March
- Talks begin at last over fate of uncontacted tribe 22 March
- Exclusive: Oil company pulls out of uncontacted tribes’ land under pressure from Survival 15 March
- Organizations denounce Peru government’s failure to protect uncontacted tribes 9 March