Manoel Ramos de Souza

Manoel Ramos de Souza (Bahia) was the leader of the land occupations of Izidora (Rosa Leão, Vitória and Esperança) which began in late June 2013, in an area known as Granja Werneck, in the region of Isidoro, taking in the municipalities of Belo Horizonte and Santa Luzia.

Bahia was against real estate speculation within the territory itself, that is, campaigning against the activities of speculators who had infiltrated the land movement and sold on land in the occupation, not using it for housing or leaving the lot empty.

Manoel had intervened in one case and had gone to a meeting to discuss the situation in an attempt to resolve the situation peacefully.  In the ensuing argument he was attacked with an axe and beaten to death. The suspects fled in a Fiat Siena and left a van on the premises, which was set ablaze. Bahia managed to ask for help but he died from his injuries.

Four people have been indicted for the crime. One of the suspects Diego Stefano Gomes da Silva, 26, a well know Brazilian and inter-american boxer has been arrested for his involvement in the killing. Two others involved in the crime are fugitives, including Wemerson dos Santos Gomes, 35, and Cláudio Simão dos Santos (the Crucible).

Shortly before his death, Bahia reported that on various occasions he had been threatened by the MG Military Police and had survived one previous attack. Bahia was an outstanding leader and stood against real estate speculation within the community, taking on responsibility for the distribution and redistribution of lots in the occupation to those who really needed it.

 


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Region:Americas

Country:Brazil

Department/Province/State:Minas Gerais

Nickname:Bahia

Sex1:Male

Age:40

Date of Killing:31/03/2015

Previous Threats:Yes

Type of Work:Community leader

Organisation:Ocupação Vitória (Izidora)

Sector or Type of Rights the HRD Worked On:ESC Rights

Sector Detail:Land Rights, Peasant communities

More information:Front Line Defenders

1This database records an individual's chosen gender identity. If they do not self-identify as male or female they can use the option of recording other/neither or use the term NBGI (non binary gender identity).