Monday, July 9, 2012

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June 8, 2012 GOOD NEWS!! ZE DE SANTA (vice-cacique José Barbosa dos Santos) IS FOUND NOT GUILTY FOR ORDERING THE MURDER OF CHICO QUELE (Francisco de Assis Santana, conhecido como Chico Quelé). This is a significant judicial finding for the Xukuru who have undergone a process of legal criminalization for over 10 years by the judicial system in Pernambuco, Brazil. The Xukuru regained their traditional territorial lands in 2001, and since that time have suffered multiple judicial processes against their leaders in an attempt by local non-indigenous farmers, businessmen seeking to institute a cultural tourism site on Xukuru lands in the aldeia (village) of Cimbres, and the conservative judicial faction of the state who seek to dismantle their continued successful political and cultural organization. Prior to the legal criminalization of their leaders, the Xukuru endured six assassinations of past leaders, human rights advocates, and a court appointed lawyer in their 30 year fight to regain their traditional lands. The finding of Ze de Santa as innocent bodes well for Cacique Marcos Xukuru who has been convicted to ten years and 4 months in prison in 2009 by a judge in Caruaru. His conviction has been under appeal in the Supreme Court in Recife, Pernambuco. Currently the Xukuru are waiting for a rescheduled court date regarding his appeal. It is hoped that the 'not guilty' verdict by a jury of Ze de Santa reflects a positive turn in the justice system's treatment of the Xukuru and that Cacique Marcos Xukuru will also be found not guilty for inciting a riot and the destruction of property in the aldeia of Cimbres after an assassination attempt on his life. Cacique Marcos Xukuru was in the hospital after the attempt on his life, and was not involved in the revolt of the Xukuru against his accused assassin. Marcia Mikulak

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