A Rio de Janeiro city councilman and a former military policeman are on the list of suspects being investigated for the assassination of Black activist and Rio de Janeiro city councilwoman, Marielle Franco, as the investigation into the killing comes to an end.
Brazil's Security Minister Raul Jungmann confirmed the individuals were being investigated while speaking to reporters Thursday stating: “I can say that they and others are being investigated.”
Jungmann's remarks come after the circulation of media reports stated, that an unidentified witness gave testimony to federal police, claiming that those responsible for ordering Marielle's execution were Rio de Janeiro city councilman Marcello Siciliano and former military policeman, Orlando Oliveira de Araujo, also known as Orlando Curicica. Curicica is currently serving a prison sentence in Rio de Janeiro's state penitentiary called Bangu 9.
According to the witness, who claims to have worked for a militia led by Curicicia in the city's west zone, the motive for the assassination was Marielle's community activism, which was taking place in areas controlled by the group. The witness stated that the order to execute Marielle came directly from Curicica, who used a cellphone inside the prison to contact his henchmen and gave the order.
Speaking to federal police in exchange for protection, the witness claims that talks between Siciliano and Curicica began in June 2017 and said they were present at a meeting between the two, where the councilman said: 'We have to see what's up with Marielle. She's screwing things up for me.” To which Siciliano replied: “We have to solve this problem soon," while punching a table.
The witness said current military policeman from the 16th Battalion (Olario) and a former military policeman who served in Mare favela complex - the same community where Marielle was raised - were in the assassin's car, along with two other people connected to Curicica's militia, according to Globo. Details were also provided on how the group allegedly went about surveying Marielle's habits, such as the places she frequented and routes she would take home from the city council's offices.
Both Siciliano and Curicica have denied involvement in Marielle's assassination. With Siciliano stating at a news conference that his relationship with Marielle, as a fellow city councilman, “was very good."
Questioned about alleged ties to Curicica's militia, the councilman said that he is “completely against any type of parallel power structure.” Marielle and I “never had political conflicts in any neighborhood... I don't understand why this factoid was created against me.”
Members of Marielle's political party, Socialism and Liberty Party, (PSOL) have, however, raised questions about Siciliano's relationship with their late colleague.
Siciliano gave testimony to Rio de Janeiro's Homicide Division related to Marielle's execution in April. Two days later, Carlos Alexandre Pereira, one of the councilman's advisors was also killed in a hail of gunfire while in a car in the Taquara neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro's west zone. He was due to testify in court on what he knew about Marielle's assassination.
During the press conference, Siciliano said he didn't believe the death of his advisor had anything to do with the case.
In 2015, Rio de Janeiro's public prosecution denounced Curicica's militia for killing a man who rented a lot of lands to mount a circus in Rio de Janeiro's west zone but didn't get permission from the group.
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" on March 15.
Three days before she was murdered, Marielle 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.
Investigators have revealed that the 9mm bullets that killed Marielle were part of a lot bought by federal police in 2006.