Antônio Isídio Pereira da Silva, 52, was last seen on 20 December of 2017. his lifeless body was found four days after, in the municipality of Codó, in Maranhão state.
Antônio was known for his commitment to the struggle for land rights at the “Comunidade de Vergel” and according to Father Josef Wasensteiner, the community leader had been the target of several threats because of his leadership. In addition, before Antônio’s death, he wanted to report to the authorities the illegal logging that had been happening in that region.
Sources affirm that the leader asked to be included in the Human Rights Defenders Program of Brasil. However, at the time, Brazilian authorities claimed that he didn’t fulfil the requirements. They did offer to include him in the Victims and Witnesses Program (Provita).
Amnesty International Brasil, issued a statement of sympathy in relation to leader’s death:
“The murder of Antonio Isídio is outrageous. It was an announced tragedy. In the last three years, we have repeatedly reported the threats he suffered and the violence resulting from agrarian conflicts in the Codó region of Maranhão. And the authorities – at all levels – have taken no measures to ensure the safety of these people. The price of state inaction, as in others cases, was the announced death of Antônio Isídio. This is unacceptable”.
The cause of death remains unknown as no post mortem was carried out.