Brazil arrests two over Marielle Franco murder

Lester Mason
March 14, 2019

Lessa is alleged to have shot Franco and De Queiroz to have driven a vehicle involved in the attack.

"Two police officers were arrested with a direct and effective participation in the crime", said Marcus Vinícius Braga, Rio de Janeiro state police secretary. Franco was also an outspoken critic of police violence against poor people.

Lessa, 48, was arrested early Tuesday, suspected of having pulled the trigger - 13 times - that killed Franco and her chauffeur Anderson Gomes in March a year ago.

She was murdered on March 14, 2018 and until Tuesday's arrests, seemingly no progress had been made into the homicide investigation in nearly a year.

"Two days before the anniversary of the death of my daughter, it is a consolation to know the police have arrested suspects".

According to the document detailing the charges, "it is undisputed that Marielle Francisco da Silva was summarily executed because of the political causes that she defended".

"Who sent them (to kill Franco)?"

The murder "was an attempt to silence all those movements that are growing: of black women, of the LGBT population - they wanted black women to abandon their fights, and for the LGBT population to withdraw", Benicio told AFP last week during the Rio carnival festivities.

Marcelo Freixo, a state legislator and friend of Franco, told Globo TV the arrests were an important step, but the case "has not been resolved".

While Witzel praised police and investigators for the arrests, the case highlighted deep corruption in the police forces, including connections to militias, paramilitary groups that control large swaths of the state.

The investigation made little initial progress, to the frustration of human rights activists who have campaigned relentlessly to keep the case alive. Investigators said they have no reason to think that any of the Bolsonaros are linked to Franco's killing.

Justice Minister Sergio Moro said on Twitter he hoped the arrests would provide "greater clarity to this awful crime so that those responsible face justice".

The operation that resulted in the arrests came on the eve of the first anniversary of the deaths of the councilwoman, Marielle Franco, and Anderson Gomes.

A photo of Bolsonaro with murder suspect Elcio Vieira de Queiroz dating back to 2011 went viral on social media after it was published on de Queiroz's Facebook account, which has since been deleted. While only the bottom half of his face is visible, Bolsonaro didn't claim it wasn't him in the photo, instead merely stating, "I've had my picture taken with thousands of soldiers all over Brazil".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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