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News > Latin America

Brazil: Military General Calls for Gag Order in Marielle Franco Probe

  • General Walter Braga Netto, heads the military intervention in the state of Rio de Janeiro.

    General Walter Braga Netto, heads the military intervention in the state of Rio de Janeiro. | Photo: EFE

Published 5 July 2018

Military General Walter Braga Netto criticized the Minister of Public Security for commenting on the investigation into the murder of Marielle Franco.

General Walter Braga Netto, leader of Brazil's federal intervention in the state of Rio de Janeiro, has aligned himself with the country's Senate-imposed president Michel Temer and issued a call for no information to be released to the public from the investigation into the assassination of Black activist and city councilwoman Marielle Franco.

Brazilian Rights Activist Marielle Franco Assassinated in Rio

Braga Netto publicly criticized the Minister of Public Security Raul Jungmann for commenting on the case, blaming his comments for failures in the investigation.

“Jungmann was the Minister of Defence when Temer decreed the federal intervention in Rio in February. Ten days later he was relocated to a new post, (Minister of) Public Security, which was created by the president,” said Braga Netto, who insists that Jungmann's role is not to make public declarations about the investigations into the assassination of Marielle.

In April, Jungmann told CBN radio, “There are basically one or two promising leads: I would say that in one of them, investigators have moved forward significantly. The most probable hypothesis is the involvement of Rio de Janeiro's militias,”

Militias refer to criminal groups whose members are former police officers or active and corrupted officers, controlling large parts of the city. They function as paramilitary groups and compete with drug-trafficking groups and demanding payments from small businesses and public services, affecting primarily marginalized populations.

Three days before she was murdered, Marielle, who was a member of the Socialism and Liberty Party (PSOL) denounced the deaths of two youths during a military police operation in the Acari favela.

“We must speak loudly so that everybody knows what is happening in Acari right now. The 41st Military Police Battalion of Rio de Janeiro is terrorizing and violating Acari residents. This week two youths were killed and tossed in a ditch. Today, the police walked the streets threatening residents. This has always happened, and with the military intervention things have gotten worse,” she wrote on Twitter.

Also, two weeks earlier Franco was named a rapporteur in the special commission established by the city council to monitor the military intervention in the city of Rio de Janeiro.

Marielle, along with her driver, Anderson Pedro Gomes, were executed in a barrage of bullets at her car while returning home from an event in central Rio de Janeiro called "Young Black Women Moving Structures."

Though her murder remains unsolved, investigators have revealed that the 9mm bullets that killed Marielle were part of a lot bought by federal police in 2006.

The PSOL's national president, Juliano Medeiros, said “despite the investigation efforts, there is no proof that incriminates any suspect in this barbarous act. We are convinced, more than ever, that the murder of Marielle and Anderson was a political crime ordered by powerful people with the means to pay a high price to promote an almost perfect crime.”

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