Brazil man accused of nun murder in court for retrial

The Brazilian rancher accused of plotting to murder US nun Dorothy Stang in 2005 in the Amazon has appeared in court for a retrial on Monday.

Vitalmiro Bastos Moura was sentenced to 38 years in jail in a first trial in 2007, acquitted on retrial in 2008 and is now going to court for a third time. Suspicions he had bribed a witness to change his testimony led the court to keep him in prison till his appearance.

The killing in Para state caused an outcry in Brazil and internationally. Ms Stang, who was 73 when she was killed, worked in the Amazon for 30 years to preserve the rainforest and protect the rights of rural workers against large-scale farmers wanting to take their land.

She was shot dead as she walked along a muddy rainforest track in the town of Anapu in Para, a northern frontier state where loggers and ranchers have deforested huge tracts of rainforest. The two confessed hitmen who killed her said Mr Moura paid them to do it, and prosecutors believe they will get a guilty verdict again, the BBC’s Paulo Cabral reports from Sao Paulo. Human rights groups say violence is a usual way to settle land disputes in the Amazon. Many people have been murdered, but their killers rarely go to jail, our correspondent adds

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