MPF monitors actions taken in case of murder of environmentalists in Pará

Bruno Pacheco – Cenarium Magazine

MANAUS – The Federal Public Ministry of Pará (MPF-PA) opened an administrative procedure on Tuesday, 18, to monitor the actions taken by public agencies regarding the murder of a family of environmentalists in the municipality of São Felix do Xingu, in the interior of the state. The crime would have happened on the 9th of this month, but the bodies of José Gomes, known as ‘Zé do Lago’, his wife, Márcia Nunes Lisboa, and the couple’s daughter, Joene Nunes Lisboa, were only found on January 11th.

The ordinance of the procedure was published in the Official Gazette of the MPF and signed by the Prosecutor of the Republic Rafael Martins da Silva. The document also determines that the homicide division of Marabá and the Investigation Support Center (NAI) of the Civil Police of Redenção should clarify the actions taken both to elucidate the case and to protect the family of the victims and other human rights defenders in the region.

Document is published in the Official Gazette of the MPF (Reproduction)

According to the publication, the Federal Public Ministry determines that the Military Police of Pará (PM-PA) be informed only of the measures taken to protect the family of the environmentalists and the local human rights defenders. Last week, the MPF even sent a note to the Para authorities asking that the murders do not go unpunished and that the investigations be expedited.

Read also: In Pará, MPF demands investigation on the death of three environmentalists from the same family

Constant attacks

The family of Zé do Lago had lived in the region of Cachoeira da Mucura, in São Felix do Xingu, for more than 20 years, where they were known for their environmental work protecting chelonians. The murder of the victims took place in a place close to their residence, with the suspected involvement of gunmen.

The son of the environmentalist Zé do Lago discovered the crime after finding the family dead. In videos shared on social networks, it is possible to see one of the bodies floating in the Xingu River, another lying near the water and the third barefoot in a mud puddle. For the MPF, the crime is inserted in a context of repeated attacks on environmentalists and human rights defenders in Brazil.

The case gained national and international repercussions, such as in the British newspaper The Guardian and Amnesty International, which called for action from the Brazilian authorities by issuing a public statement expressing indignation over the murder.

Follow-up

The former Minister of Environment Marina Silva (Rede), in social networks, recalled the importance of the police authorities of Pará to spare no efforts to elucidate the crime and punish the killers, including asking for help from the Federal Police.

According to the figures of the report by the non-governmental organization (NGO) Global Witness, Brazil is the 4th country in the world with the highest number of environmentalists murdered in 2020, with 20 deaths. In 2019, the country figured in the top three positions of the list, with 24 deaths recorded in the year.

In the last four decades alone, according to the Pastoral Land Commission (CPT), 62 rural workers and community leaders have been killed in land conflicts in São Félix do Xingu. Because of this, the Federal Public Ministry considers the need to monitor the work of the public security bodies and to evaluate the protection of the victims’ families.

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