We want to share a translation of an important document by the LCP about the official hearings of the four imprisoned activists of the Camp Manoel Ribeiro. The translation was sent to us.

In farcical judgement, judge denies freedom to the four political prisoners of Manoel Ribeiro


The hearing against Ezequiel, Luis Carlos, Estefane and Ricardo, political prisoners of the Camp Manoel Ribeiro, which took place last 29th of June 2021 in Vilhena, south cone of the state of Rondônia, was a new chapter in the criminalization of the combative land struggle, especially of our honorable organization, LCP - League of Poor Peasants.

In yet another travesty of the judiciary, from the beginning of the hearing, judge Lilian Pegoraro Bilharva did not hide her blatant bias in favour of the large landowner thief of the Union lands (Land owned by the state and legally intended to be distributed to landless and small farmers so that they can build medium farms of up to 100 h on it). As far as the judge is concerned, the verdict is ready and the peasants unjustly accused are already previously condemned for crimes they did not commit. For the judge it doesn't matter the truth of the facts, the proofs and evidence, she seeks with the farcical trial to justify the objective defined long ago by the latifundium and the old State, which is to punish the peasents of the Camp Manoel Ribeiro exemplarily, not for supposed crimes they have committed, but for simply daring to fight for the right to land for those who work on it.

The hearing was virtual, and the judge prohibited the participation of dozens of representatives of numerous democratic organizations, of students and teachers, despite Brazilian legislation determining that trials are public. With this she sought to restrict as far as possible the publicizing of the farce in progress. After much insistence only a limited number of people and organisations managed to attend the hearing.

In another trick, videos recorded by the cameras of the military police vehicles and drone during the illegal operation that resulted in the arrest of the campers, on the 14th of May, and which were requested by the defence, were only annexed a few hours before the trial, preventing the defence lawyers from using them to the advantage of the peasants, since they didn't even have time to watch them before the hearing.

The recordings dismantle the farce of the police, their lies that they were ambushed and attacked by the peasants, including with gunfire. The drone recording clearly shows that there was no confrontation, when they saw the vehicles arriving the peasants only let off fireworks at a long distance and withdrew, nobody shot at the police. The videos of the car cameras prove that the peasents didn't break these devices or the cars, they were damaged due to the abrupt invasion of the pasture committed by the police themselves.

The prosecution witnesses were all police officers, who, as usual, lied a lot and presented contradictory versions. Also testifying was the manager of the Ipiranga farm, a latifundium neighboring the Manoel Ribeiro area. As a good employee of the latifundium, he criminalized the LCP and the peasant struggle all the time, but he was forced to affirm that he did not see who cut the fence of the Ipiranga farm, that he did not see any gun with the peasants, nor did he hear any shots.

During the whole trial, the prosecutor asked questions defending the latifundium, which is a murderer of indigenous people, peasants and a thief of Union lands, as well as criminalising the peasants and the LCP.

All political prisoners and witnesses who had been camped or knew the camp answered in unison that in the camp there was no leader, everything was decided in Popular Assemblies, by the people, by the majority. The defence witnesses also confirmed that drugs and alcoholic drinks were forbidden in the camp and that the peasants had only slingshots, stones, firecrackers, wooden shields and firecrackers at their disposal. The prosecutor insisted a lot on knowing about the LCP flags, who was carrying them into the camp, as if this were a crime. In a simple and sure manner, all the interviewees said that the campers themselves produced them inside the camp.

The political prisoner Estefane confirmed the same, and the prosecutor insisted, insidiously, "If there is no leadership of the movement, how do they make the flags?" and the fighter answered the obvious: "With cloth, brush and paint", a fact that aroused the wrath of the accuser, who began to shout in anger: "I am not stupid! You're affronting me!". All the time, the prosecutor was aggressive with the political prisoner and was helped by the judge in the accusation that she was a leader of the LCP, because she was "enlightened".

The truth is that the League does not get land or anything for the people, the LCP is the peasant people organised in a combative and independent struggle against the oppression and exploitation imposed by the parasites of the Nation. It is the masses organised in a conscious struggle who are ready, as they have been for centuries, to use all means necessary to conquer the land.

The representatives of the old state cannot hide their underestimation of the people, especially the poor peasants, much less their hatred of the popular and democratic struggle.

The peasant fighters and their defence, with the seriousness and firmness of the just, affirmed the truth, unmasked the farce of the police and defended the just and sacred peasant struggle.

At the end of the hearing, the defence requested the revocation of the preventive arrests. In a statement by the public prosecutor, João Paulo Lopes, he wrote that "the area in question still breathes an air of insecurity and unease" and that "the freedom of the petitioners will certainly stimulate new invasions, increasing the risk of armed conflict" and therefore the "imprisonment of the accused should be maintained, since it is still essential to guarantee public order". And as one could foresee, the anti-people and anti-campesino judge, defender of the land-grabbing latifundia of the Union, denied the release of the prisoners, despite there being nothing to justify such imprisonment, and disregarding the evidence gathered in the case and the innumerable illegalities and crimes committed by the police and the old State.

More crimes against the people: witnesses are persecuted,

detainees suffer torture and ill-treatment

One day after the hearing, the police began to hunt down one of the defence witnesses, accusing her of being a leader of the LCP. The judge participated in this attack and at the end of the trial tried to get photos of all the witnesses.

During her testimony, the political prisoner Estefane denounced that the women's prison lacks food and cleaning materials and that the prisoners do not menstruate. Some of her cellmates have not menstruated for a year, probably because of some substance added criminally to the water or food of the detainees, its harms being unpredictable, the worst of them being forced sterilization. The judge tried to justify the very serious fact with mockery: "It must be psychological."

Political prisoners Ricardo and Luis Carlos also denounced that they were beaten upon arrest with kicks to the belly, in addition to the already reported torture they suffered at the farmhouse.

Judiciary at the service of the latifundium

Judge Lilian Pegoraro Bilharva is well known for her favourable sentences to rich landowners and harsh sentences against small peasants. A symbolic case is that of the landowner and businessman and petrol station owner Ilário Bodanese, who claims to be the owner of the Rio Branco estate, where arsenals have been seized several times and armed gangs paid by Ilário Bodanese have been arrested. The magistrate acquitted the rich man for "lack of evidence", who is also involved in threats and persecution against peasant leaders and two assassination attempts against squatters in the Chupinguaia region. All crimes have been fully documented and are public knowledge.

On the other hand, in 2013 the same judge convicted 18 small squatters of "terrorism" and gang formation for wounding a gunman, when they were defending themselves from an attack when returning to their homes with their families, in a region where the latifundium is very active. She even sentenced two peasants to 10 years and 6 months in prison each.

And now, in this process against the four political prisoners from the Camp Manoel Ribeiro, the judiciary of Vilhena is adding to the repression against the LCP and the peasants, moved by the governor Colonel Marcos Rocha, puppet of the landowners and proxy of Bolsonaro.

Immediate freedom for comrades Ezequiel, Luis Carlos, Estefane and Ricardo!

Down with the criminalization of the struggle for land! End of persecutions, imprisonments and trials!

Down with the genocidal military government of Bolsonaro!

Conquer the land, destroy the latifundium!

Long live the Agrarian Revolution! Land for those who work on it!

LCP - League of Poor Peasants of Rondônia and Western Amazonia

The 3rd of July 2021