Stop the Legal Criminalization Against the Xukuru People in Brazil sign now

CRIMINALIZATION OF THE XUKURU PEOPLE
31 Xukuru sentenced up to 10 years in prison!

We demand that the Federal Regional Court reverse the decision
to imprison Xukuru leaders

Background History

THE XUKURU
Struggle, Aggressions and Survival

- Approximately 10 thousand children, men, women, and elder Xukuru live on their traditional land in the hills of the Serra do Ororubб, in the municipality of Pesqueira, Pernambuco, Brazil.

- For decades, the Xukuru have struggled to ensure that their constitutional rights are respected. During this period, several leaders were murdered due to the struggle to regain rights to their land, guaranteed to them by the 1988 Brazilian Constitution. It is important to emphasize that the murder of cacique (Chief) Chicгo Xukuru, on 20 May 1998, was due to his activism for Xukuru land rights. Cacique Chicгo was killed in an ambush in front of his sisters house by a local gunmen.

- After being arrested, the murderer was found dead in the jail of the Regional Superintendent of the Federal Police in Pernambuco. According to the police, he committed suicide.

- Marcos Luidson de Araъjo, son of cacique Chicгo, was chosen as the new cacique by the Encantados (spiritual guides) of the Xukuru people in 2000, at which time death threats against his life began. These threats against his life have been investigated by the police and other appropriate criminal justice authorities. However, due to the negligence and poor criminal investigations of the police and the Brazilian criminal justice system, cacique Marcos Xukurus attempted assassination was reviewed by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States (OAS). Based on their review, the OAS stated that the Brazilian state was responsible for the protection and security of cacique Marcos Xukuru and his mother, Zenilda such protection and security has never been provided.

- On February 7 of 2003, cacique Marcos was the victim of an attempted homicide on Xukuru land. While on Xukuru land, the perpetrators of the attack killed two youths, Josenilson Josй dos Santos (Nilsinho) and Ademilson Josй Barbosa da Silva (Milson), who tried to prevent the murder of the chief. They were unarmed.

- The indigenous community, deeply shocked and indignant over the attempted assassination of cacique Marcos, reacted with civil disobedience, and violence occurred, ending with the eviction from Xukuru land of all individuals who supported the criminal attack on their cacique: these individuals included farmers who had remained illegally on Xukuru land after the re-demarcation of Xukuru indigenous lands, and some indigenous Xukuru, who were manipulated by those involved in both supporting the assassination and attempts to divide Xukuru indigenous territory.

- The attempts to divide Xukuru land by those suspected to be involved in the attempted assassination was communicated to various public agencies, in particular the Federal Prosecutor in Pernambuco, and the Federal Police: No measures were taken to intervene or settle such conflicts by law enforcement officials, or by the state of Pernambucos legal representatives.

Judgment on the attack against cacique Marcos

- On the day following the attack, the Federal Police (FP) focused their attention on the destruction of non-indigenous farmers property, and not on the attempted assassination of cacique Marcos Xukuru. The result of these investigations targeted Cacique Marcos Xukuru and other tribal leaders as responsible for instigating the destruction of property belonging to non-indigenous farmers living on tribal lands re-demarcated to the Xukuru. These farmers currently continue to inhabit Xukuru land. The Federal Police turned their attention to the expulsion of those they implicated in the destruction of property, and little to no attention was not paid to apprehending the individuals involved in the attempted assassination of cacique Marcos. Thus, the Federal Policed concluded that there was no attack on cacique Marcos and that cacique Marcos provoked the incident of which he was the victim.

- The Federal Prosecutor in Pernambuco (PE-MPF) accepted the findings of the investigation and the police charged only one person, Josй Lourival Frazгo (Louro Frazгo), with double homicide for the murder of Josenilson Josй dos Santos (Nilsinho) and Ademilson Josй Barbosa da Silva (Milson). The other participants in the attempted assassination were not charged, due to testimony indicating that they acted in self-defense. However, an expert witness proved that the Xukuru youth, Nilsino and Milson, were unarmed. Louro Frazгo, who fired the fatal shots that killed the two youths was sentenced to 12 years and six months in prison for only one of the homicides. The attempted assassination of cacique Marcos has not been recognized, nor has it been investigated.

Condemnation of the Cacique and the Leaders of the Xukuru People

The Federal Police investigation of the incidents resulted in the conviction of 35 Xukuru leaders, including cacique Marcos Xukuru, all of whom were indicted, accused of having ordered the destruction of the non-indigenous farmers property that occurred after the attempted assassination. However, after the attempted assassination of the cacique Marcos, and the murder of two Xukuru youth, the Cacique was taken to a hospital where he was sedated, after which he remained asleep in the home of his mother until the morning of the following day.
His whereabouts were verified by several representatives of human rights organizations, who have testified to this fact.

- Indifferent to these facts, the MPF-PE, accepted the conclusions of the Federal Police and charged cacique Marcos and the other 34 Xukuru leaders with various crimes.

- Cacique Marcos and 30 leaders were convicted by the 16th Federal Court jurisdiction in Caruaru (PE) with sentences ranging from 1 to 10 years imprisonment in addition to payment for damages totaling more than R$ 100 thousand.

- The sentencing of cacique Marcos to 10 years and four months in prison disregarded his having been a victim of an attempted assassination, and not the aggressor in this case. Also disregarded was the fact that Marcos was sedated during the episode of the evictions and that the indigenous community re-acted independently, and were not responding to any directions given by cacique Marcos. The Xukuru people were in a state of shock over the deaths of two youths and the attempted assassination of their cacique. The sentencing of cacique Marcos and 30 Xukuru leaders was rendered prior to hearing important defense witnesses, including Federal Deputy Fernando Ferro (PT / PE) and Rachel Dodge of the Sub-Prosecutor General's Office, who were both on indigenous Xukuru land the day after the occurrence. This constitutes a restriction on the right to legal defense, and is a violation of due process laws that protect the rights of defendants.

- The Federal Court even condemned Wilton Lopes da Silva, an indigenous man, who was not on indigenous land at the time of the expulsion of those assumed to be invaders, as proven by the testimony of witnesses in his defense. He was sentenced to 9 years and 4 months in prison.

- The convictions of cacique Marcos Xukuru and other tribal leaders arose in a context of criminalizing the struggles for indigenous land rights and for their demands that the Brazilian nation-state adhere to international indigenous human rights documents. At present, at least 43 Xukuru are facing legal prosecution in the Brazilian legal system. Two have been arrested, and 31 have been convicted, and the other ten are currently awaiting trial. This process of criminalizing indigenous peoples social activism as they work to seek government recognition and support for their social, cultural, and environmental rights was reported in March 2009, to the Organization of American States (OAS).

Reasons for Signing this Petition in Support of the Xukuru

Justice for the Xukuru

All who follow the journey of the Xukuru and other indigenous peoples in their struggles for social, political, cultural, and environmental rights knows that excuses on behalf of the interests of those whose seek to maintain the status quo (powerful political and economic interests in land, water, and natural resource rights within the region), have tried, in various ways to demoralize, divide and demobilize the Xukuru. Such tactics seek to prevent them from achieving their goals to live according to their cultural heritage and the values that define them as indigenous peoples.

- This is an unspeakable violence against a people who, with the help of innumerable partners, have been moving examples of courage and determination.

It is essential that citizens within civil societies around the globe express their indignation against the Brazilian governments treatment of indigenous peoples. The response of citizens from both Brazilian and international communities will demonstrate that such disregard for the rights of indigenous peoples will not be tolerated. Public disapproval has an impact on human rights cases, and can result in reversing convictions that have been made that ignore and disregard the rights of indigenous peoples.


Please sign and send the petition below.
Address and form of salutation is provided below









Petition in Support of the Xukuru People

July 30, 2009

Your Excellency, Desembargador Federal Luiz Alberto Gurgel de Faria:

We are aware that the cacique Marcos Luidson de Araъjo and thirty other indigenous Xukuru were convicted because of the incidents on 7 February 2003, that occurred in the Vila de Cimbres, within Xukuru land in the municipality of Pesqueira, state of Pernambuco, Brazil. The trial and resulting convictions leaves us deeply concerned.

The Xukuru people and their leaders, such as cacique Marcos and his father, the cacique Chicгo Xukuru, are recognized nationally and internationally for their tireless struggle for the restoration of their traditional territory and respect for the social organization of indigenous peoples. Both always acted in defense of human rights and in recognition of a pluri-ethnic and multicultural state, for which cacique Chicгo Xukuru was murdered in 1998.

Analysis of the process that resulted in 31 convictions by human rights experts shows there were irregularities in the investigation and reporting of the events of February 7, 2003. Important facts relating to evidence on behalf of the Xukuru have not been reviewed individually, or within the specific context in which they were introduced. Indigenous social action in Brazil frequently results in sectioned violence against indigenous peoples by vigilante groups who are paid by wealthy and powerful individuals who stand to lose financial land and assets.

In the legal process against the Xukuru, improper police invitations resulted in the re-victimization of the Xukuru people and their cacique. The murder of two indigenous youths and the attempted murder of cacique Marcos resulted in an emotional reaction by the Xukuru community as a whole.
.
Nearly all prosecution witnesses in this case are considered adversarial to the social activism of the Xukuru people for their civil, political, environmental, and cultural rights. Furthermore, important evidence related to the murders and attempted assassination has not been allowed as evidence by the defense. Such evidence could lead to the reversal of the current conventions levied against indigenous leaders.

It is with confidence in the Brazilian Judiciaries commitment to social justice, equality, and respect for human rights that we are writing to you.
We await redress and Justice.




In addition If you can print out, sign, and mail the petition above to the following judges in Brazil, the impact of your voice will be even stronger.

Send Petition To:

Send your signed petition to the following individuals within the Brazilian Judicial System: (Please make sure each letter is addressed to each of the following judges)

JUDGES IN THE TRIBUNAL REGIONAL FEDERAL DA 5Є

Presidente
Des. Federal Luiz Alberto Gurgel de Faria
[email protected]
Fax: (81) 3425-9095

Vice-Presidente
Des. Federal Marcelo Navarro Ribeiro Dantas
[email protected]
Fax: (81) 3425-9499

Corregedor
Des. Federal Manoel de Oliveira Erhardt
[email protected]

1Є. Turma do Tribunal Regional Federal da 5Є. Regiгo
Des. Federal Francisco de Queiroz Bezerra Cavalcanti
[email protected]
Des. Federal Josй Maria de Oliveira Lucena
[email protected]
Des. Federal Rogйrio de Meneses Fialho Moreira
[email protected]

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Information

Rachelle MannBy:
Business and CompaniesIn:
Petition target:
Brazilian Justices, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

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