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Nun Battling Loggers in Brazil Slain

THE WORLD

February 13, 2005|From Associated Press

SAO PAULO, Brazil — A nun from Ohio was shot to death Saturday in northern Brazil, less than a week after she accused loggers and ranchers of threatening to kill rural workers, authorities said.

Dorothy Stang, 74, was shot in the face three times near the town of Anapu, about 1,300 miles north of Sao Paulo in the Amazon region, federal police officer Fernando Raiol said. Two suspects were in custody.

Stang, who had worked in Brazil for more than 30 years, was headed to a meeting with local peasants when her group was attacked, police said.

Stang, of Dayton, Ohio, had lobbied forcefully against efforts by loggers and large landowners to expropriate land and clear big sections of rain forest.

"She was basically protected by her status as being an old lady and being a nun. She also recently became a Brazilian citizen, and she thought that would help, but it obviously didn't," said her niece Angela Mason, who lives in Dayton. She said Stang had told family members there was a price on her head.

Stang was a member of the Congregation of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, a Roman Catholic order of about 2,000 women on five continents.

The attack came less than a week after Stang told Human Rights Secretary Nilmario Miranda that four farmers had received death threats.

"This is extremely serious," Miranda said. "We cannot allow this murder to go unpunished."

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