updated 8/7/2008 8:33:21 PM ET 2008-08-08T00:33:21

Two men convicted in the 2005 killing of American nun and rainforest defender Dorothy Stang will be allowed to spend Brazilian Fathers' day at home, court officials said Thursday.

A judge ordered Clodaldo Batista and Amair Feijoli da Cunha freed for five days to spend the Sunday holiday with their families.

Each man is serving 17 years for the killing of Stang, a Dayton, Ohio, native who spent 30 years in the Amazon working to preserve the rainforest and teach the poor to demand their rights against powerful logging and ranching interests.

"In Brazil, this is very common for prisoners who have met a set of requirements," court spokesman Linomar Bahia said in a telephone interview from Belem, the capital of the Amazon state of Para. "The number of prisoners who don't return from these releases is almost insignificant."

Stang's relatives were outraged to learn of the killers' release.

"If I were a Brazilian, I'd be embarrassed by the whole process," said Stang's brother David Stang, reached at his home near Colorado Springs. "We all knew the judicial system was corrupt in Para state."

Batista was convicted for acting as an accomplice in the killing of the 73-year-old nun, and Cunha was convicted as acting as a middle man.

Confessed gunman Rayfran das Neves Sales was sentenced to 28 years in prison and remains behind bars. In May, a court overturned the conviction of rancher Vitalmiro Moura accused of ordering Stang's killing and set him free.

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