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Blame Gitmo First

Gabe Rottman,
Legislative Counsel,
ACLU Washington Legislative Office
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May 16, 2007

Brazil convicts rainforest rancher of nun’s murder. Defense argues Gitmo was in her “DNA.”You know there’s a problem when a Brazilian defense attorney uses Guantanamo Bay to paint an elderly American nun, dedicated to non-violent protest, as a physical threat to a fellow whose very nice livelihood is based on exploiting the rainforest.

At the trial, a convicted gunman testified that he felt “threatened” by the petite nun, a suggestion denounced as absurd by her family and friends, who said Stang was dedicated to nonviolent protest.De Moura had denied knowing Stang, although he acknowledged providing shelter to the two gunmen after the slaying and then going on the lam for 45 days.A defense attorney, Americo Leal, recounted episodes from U.S. history such as the atomic bombing in Japan and the detention of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to bolster his allegation that the Ohio-born nun “shares this DNA of violence.”But the argument didn’t convince the jury of seven, which voted 5 to 2 for conviction, sufficient under Brazilian law.

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