Marielle Franco: Brazil Police Arrest 3 Suspects in 2018 Murder of Rio Council Member

Brazilian federal police have made breakthroughs in the investigation into the assassination of Rio de Janeiro councilwoman Marielle Franco in 2018. The case which had remained unsolved for years has now seen the arrest of political figures and a former police chief.

Marielle Franco: Brazil Police Arrest 3 Suspects in 2018 Murder of Rio Council Member

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Marielle Franco, a 38-year-old city councilwoman was a Black, bisexual woman known for her activism against police brutality and corruption in Rio’s favelas.

On Sunday, federal police arrested Congressman Chiquinho Brazao, his brother Domingos Brazao, a councilor on the Rio de Janeiro state audit court (TCE), and former Rio police chief Rivaldo Barbosa.

Investigators allege that the Brazao brothers ordered Franco’s killing to silence her activism against corruption and organized crime.

Lawyers for the accused have denied any involvement in the murder claiming lack of connection to Franco.

Former police officer Ronnie Lessa, who confessed to shooting Franco and her driver provided information through a plea bargain agreement.

Justice Minister Ricardo Lewandowski showed the motivations behind Franco’s murder, suggesting it was linked to her advocacy for public housing regulation, which clashed with the interests of powerful individuals like Chiquinho Brazao.

The investigation into Franco’s murder faced numerous obstacles including changes in lead detectives and alleged obstruction by authorities.

Franco’s death transformed her into a symbol of resistance against political violence and discrimination in Brazil. Her journey continues to inspire activism for human rights and justice.

The arrest of the suspected masterminds behind Franco’s murder has reignited national outcry and garnered international attention. Supporters of Franco and advocates for justice have welcomed the progress in the case.

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Marielle Franco was a councilwoman but also a symbol of resilience, representing marginalized communities as a Black woman and a member of the LGBTQ+ community.

Chiquinho Brazão and Domingos Brazão, both figures in Brazilian politics, were on suspicion of orchestrating Franco’s killing.

Their alleged ties to criminal militias, which operate unlawfully by extorting residents and engaging in illicit activities.

Lawyers for the suspects have denied any involvement in Franco’s murder, while federal authorities underline the complexity of the case citing multiple interests at play. The involvement of officials, including a federal legislator and a former police chief.

The investigation into Franco’s murder faced numerous hurdles including changes in lead detectives and allegations of obstruction. Federal intervention became necessary amid concerns of local authorities’ handling of the case.

The breakthrough in the case came with the plea bargain deal signed by Ronnie Lessa, the shooter, who implicated the alleged masterminds.

Lessa’s cooperation provided information that led to the arrests of Chiquinho and Domingos Brazão, along with Rivaldo Barbosa, the former police chief.

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