By Anna Fitzpatrick, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Brazilian police yesterday arrested two brothers and accused them of killing Amazon activists José Claudio Ribeiro da Silva and Maria do Espírito Santo da Silva in May this year. The couple were shot while crossing a bridge in Nova Ipixuna, in the southeast of Pará, in what later transpired to be part of a spate of assassination of Amazonian activists.
Brothers José Rodrigues Moreira and Lindonjonson Silva Rocha were arrested some 50 kilometers from the town. Police found them in procession of three revolvers and a shotgun.
Moreira is allegedly the owner of the land on which the couple lived and is believed to be the mastermind behind the plan; his brother the executor. However, it is believed that there were three suspects in the case – the remaining suspect is still at large.
Four murders happened in May 2011, in the days surrounding a tense debate in Congress over changes to Brazil’s Forest Code.
Congress controversially approved a revised Forest Code that relaxes protections for the Amazon and offers partial amnesties for landowners who have illegally destroyed parts of the rainforest. A law described by Amazon conservationists as “disastrous”.
Read more (in Portuguese).
* The Rio Times Daily Update is a new feature we are offering to help keep you up-to-date with the major news as it happens.