Brazilian police arrest new suspect in murder of Marielle Franco | Police News

Adeyemi Adeyemi
Adeyemi Adeyemi

Global Courant

Justice minister says Brazil is close to solving the ‘horrible’ murder of Rio de Janeiro’s councilwoman in 2018.

Authorities in Brazil have arrested another suspect in connection with the 2018 murder of popular Rio de Janeiro councilwoman Marielle Franco and her driver, the justice minister confirmed.

A preventive arrest warrant and seven search and seizure warrants have been issued, Justice Minister Flavio Dino said at a press conference in the capital Brasilia on Monday.

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The man arrested was named as former firefighter Maxwell Simoes Correia, and he is suspected of hiding the weapons used by the ex-police suspects on trial in the shooting, Dino said.

“We are close to solving this heinous crime,” he said.

The murder of Franco, a black, openly gay and progressive councilwoman born in a poor neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro, sent shockwaves across Brazil and sparked mass protests calling for accountability and justice.

On the five-year anniversary of the assassination in March, Amnesty International urged Brazil’s left-wing president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, to create an “international mechanism of independent experts” to support local authorities investigating the case.

“Over the past five years, six different police chiefs, 11 prosecutors, four police secretaries, three governors, a federal ombudsman, two attorneys general and three presidents of the republic have presided over the investigations, and we still have no answers,” said Jurema Werneck, executive director of Amnesty International Brazil. said in a statement at the time.

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“Who ordered the murder of Marielle Franco and (her driver) Anderson Gomes, and why? It is unacceptable that after half a decade none of the authorities dealing with this case have been able to solve it,” said Werneck.

In March 2019, two former police officers, Ronnie Lessa and Elcio de Queiroz, were charged with the shooting of Franco and Gomes. They remain in federal prison custody.

Dino said Monday that Queiroz, who is accused of driving the car used in the crime, has entered a plea with police and prosecutors, saying he was complicit in the crime and confirming that Lessa was involved in the murder.

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The minister added that the information provided by Queiroz will help identify others involved in the crime and more police operations can be expected in the coming weeks.

A rising star in the Socialism and Liberty Party, Franco was an outspoken critic of police killings of Rio’s poor residents. Investigators believe her murder to be a political assassination carried out by paid hitmen.

Brazilian police arrest new suspect in murder of Marielle Franco | Police News

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