Brazil ranchers sentenced for killing farmers

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Associated Press

Posted on October 12, 2013 at 1:01 PM

Updated Saturday, Oct 12 at 1:04 PM

SAO PAULO (AP) — A ranch owner has been sentenced to more than 100 years in jail for ordering and taking part in the 2004 killing of five landless farmworkers who occupied his property in southeastern Brazil.

The website of the judiciary branch of the state of Minas Gerais says Adriano Chafik received a 115-year sentence, while his employee Washington Agostinho was sentenced to 97 years. But under Brazilian law no one can serve more than 30 years in prison.

The two are free pending the outcome of their appeal processes.

Killings over land conflicts in Brazil are common.

According to the watchdog group Catholic Land Pastoral, more than 1,500 rural activists have been slain in Brazil over the past 25 years.

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