Three Rio officials arrested on suspicion of killing Mariel Franco

RIO DE JANEIRO — For years, Brazil has been asking the question: “Who ordered the killing of Mariel?”

Since the 2018 killing of left-wing politician and human rights activist Mariel Franco in central Rio de Janeiro, Brazilians have plastered the issue on T-shirts, spray-painted walls and posted on social media. The name Marielle became a rallying point For the left.

Now, six years after her assassination, police say they are starting to answer that question.

Brazil’s federal police arrested three high-profile officials with close political ties to Rio de Janeiro on Sunday morning, naming them as suspects in Franco’s killing and shedding a rare light on what rights activists have long claimed is the city’s deep-seated politics. Links between elites and criminal militias. Control large areas of this volatile metropolis.

In an operation dubbed “Murder Inc.”, police arrested Rio federal congressman Chiquinho Brazão, Rio state auditor Domingos Brazão and former city police chief Rivaldo Barbosa. The former officer was also charged with intentionally sabotaging the investigation.

The men have not been formally charged, but police officials told The Washington Post they suspected they were behind the murder and would transfer them to a maximum-security prison in the capital, Brasilia, on Sunday afternoon .

Marielle’s sister and Brazil’s Racial Equality Minister Aniel Franco welcomed the arrests.

“God only knows how long we have been dreaming of this day,” she said. “Today is another big step toward answering the question we have asked over the past few years: ‘Who ordered the killing of Mali and why?'”

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Dominguez Brazao’s lawyer told Brazilian media on Sunday morning that his client did not know Mariel Franco and denied any involvement in her killing. Representatives for the other two suspects have yet to comment.

Before he was killed, Franco was considered one of Brazil’s rising political stars.She grew up in the Complexo da Maré slum in Rio de Janeiro. Racial and gay rights activist They have long been denied a political voice in a country historically led by conservative Brazilians of European descent.

In 2016, she was elected to the Rio de Janeiro City Council and proudly identifies herself as gay and black.

“I’m a woman, Black, a mother, growing up in the Marais ghetto,” she says of her political identity.

It’s unclear what motivated her killer to kill Franco, but her actions against police brutality and militias are widely believed to have unsettled those who profited from the rise of militias in the city.

Within a year of Franco’s murder, two former gendarmes were arrested and charged with pulling the trigger that caused her death.

Law enforcement officials announced a breakthrough in the case last week. Former military policeman Ronnie Lessa, a feared militia leader in Rio’s western district, accepted a plea deal and named the mastermind behind Franco’s killing.

A senior federal police official who spoke to The Washington Post on condition of anonymity to discuss the case candidly said police feared the men’s names would be leaked and they would flee the country. So police launched a raid on Sunday morning.

Arrests plunge Brazil into trouble another country’s reckoning Commentators took to social media to react to the arrests amid concerns about corruption and impunity, with left-wing politicians praising the operation.

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“Justice!” wrote Guilherme Boulos, who is running for mayor of São Paulo. “Mariel present!”

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By Ali Raza

I am a dedicated and skilled News Content Writer with a passion for delivering accurate and engaging stories to a diverse audience. With a solid background in journalism and a keen eye for detail, I bring a commitment to excellence and a deep understanding of the evolving media landscape.

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