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Gunmen threaten sister of killed Amazon activist: lawyer
by Staff Writers
Rio De Janeiro (AFP) Aug 19, 2011

In an apparent bid of intimidation, gunmen fired at the home of the sister of an environmental activist who was killed in May amid violent land disputes in Brazil's Amazon region, a monitoring body's lawyer said Friday.

Jose Batista, a lawyer for the Pastoral Land Commission, said that Laisa Sampaio told him the men fired Wednesday at the door of her house and at her dog in what was "probably an act of intimidation."

Batista, who represents a Catholic Church-linked group that monitors land disputes, said he would meet with Sampaio, who reported the incident to police in Maruba, in the southern part of Para state.

On May 24, Maria and Jose Claudio da Silva, married farmers and environmental activists, were murdered in Macaranduba, in Para's southwest where they were denouncing illegal loggers. Maria is Laisa's sister.

They were among six farmers who were murdered several weeks apart in a region where they were trying to defend the rainforest.

Laisa was not at home when the gunmen struck, but her husband was and he hid during the attack, Maraba police commissioner Silvio Maues Batista told reporters, adding that he had sent a team to investigate.

The Pastoral Land Commission has published a list of 125 activists and Amazon residents said to be on a death-threat list. The couple killed in May were on the list.

Although the government has taken urgent measures to protect the others, it has admitted it does not have the means to guard all of them.

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