News-Letter Nr. 511

Murderers of Galdino Pataxó will not be allowed to work outside their prison cells

On Wednesday, May 8th, the ministry of Justice decided to cancel vacancies made available at the Penitentiary Department (Depen) for three of the murderers of Galdino Pataxó to work outside the prison where they are serving their sentence for murder.

The Criminal Court of the Federal District (VEC) had granted an authorization for Antônio Novely Vilanova, Eron Chaves de Oliveira, and Tomás Oliveira de Almeida to work at the Depen from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. The fourth murderer did not receive the same authorization because he is appealing against his guilty verdict.

Advisors to the ministry reported that the vacancies had been cancelled "because they could give rise to indignation among indigenous communities, and the National Indigenous Foundation is linked to the ministry."

Apparently, the VEC granted the authorization based on the provisions of articles 36 and 37 of the Criminal Law, which allow individuals serving a sentence of imprisonment to work for public agencies. These provisions do not apply to the Galdino Case, because the Jury Court of the Federal District considered that the convicts had committed a hideous crime. The victim was sleeping in a bus stop when the four youths spilled alcohol on him, set fire to his body and fled, leaving him there without any assistance. According to article 2 of Law 8072/90, those who commit hideous crimes must serve their full sentence in prison.

As the advisors to the ministry of Justice said, if the authorization granted by the VEC had been upheld, it would have given rise to strong indignation and outrage among indigenous organizations and indigenists in Brazil and abroad. The conviction of the four murderers of Galdino Pataxó was hailed as a remarkable advance in the fight against impunity in Brazil. If it had prevailed, the decision of the Criminal Court of the Federal District to allow these murderers to work outside their prison cells would give the impression that no such advance had actually taken place, reinforcing the feeling prevailing today that Justice has no place in Brazil.

Fourth indigenous theology meeting

With the motto "In search of a land without evil," the Fourth Indigenous Theology Meeting is being held in Assuncion, capital of Paraguay, with the presence of 170 people from over ten American countries. Most of the participants are representatives of 40 indigenous peoples.

The hall where plenary sessions are being held was given the name Marçal Tupã-í as a tribute to the great Guarani leader who greeted pope John Paul II in Manaus during his official visit to Brazil. In his speech on that occasion, Marçal said that "Brazil was not discovered, but rather invaded." Three years later, Marçal was killed. The crime remains unsolved to this day.

The meeting in Assuncion attracted theologians and allies of indigenous peoples from various European countries who are also taking part in the event. The Brazilian delegation is composed of representatives of four indigenous peoples and Cimi members, among whom its executive secretary, Egon Heck. The theological advisor to the entity, Paulo Suess, is also an advisor to the meeting. Some bishops and various members of Evangelical churches, including a Methodist bishop and pastors linked to the Latin American Council of Churches are also attending the meeting.

"This is a historical day for indigenous peoples and all those who are marching with them," highlighted Eleazar, a member of the Latin American Indigenous Pastoral Network and one of the organizers of the meeting. Bartomeu Melià, who lived for many years among the Guarani, gave a presentation to explain the meaning of the myth of this people regarding the "Land Without Evil."

The celebrations of indigenous peoples are being regarded as one of the high points of the meeting. They remind us of the threats faced by these peoples in their relations with surrounding societies and national States.

Brasília, May 09, 2002
Indianist Missionary Council - Cimi

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