Brazil prosecutor orders five indictments over gay councilwoman assassination

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A man walks past a graffiti depicting slain Brazilian councilwoman Marielle Franco, near the site where she was murdered in Rio de Janeiro. (CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty)

Brazil prosecutor general Raquel Dodge announced on her last day in office (September 17) that she would charge five people with obstructing investigations into the assassination of gay, black councilwoman Marielle Franco.

Franco was an openly serving lesbian politician who fought for minorities across Rio de Janeiro, and she and her driver were shot dead in March 2018. Officials confirmed at the time that the attack was targeted.

Following the murder, thousands took to the streets outside of Rio de Janeiro’s council chamber to protest against the growing violence in Brazil.

According to Reuters, shortly after Franco’s death two former police officers were arrested in connection with the murder, but in November last year federal officials said they had been given false information by witnesses in an effort to hinder the investigation.

Dodge has ordered the indictment of two court officials, two police officers and a lawyer for obstructing investigations.

The crime was until now being investigated by Rio de Janeiro state police, but will now have to be transferred to federal authorities.

Brazil’s new prosecutor general, Augusto Aras, took office on Wednesday (September 18) and was appointed by right-wing president Jair Bolsonaro.

Brazil Marielle Franco demonstration
Aerial view from the demonstration against the murder of Brazilian councilwoman and activist Marielle Franco in front of Rio’s Municipal Chamber, downtown Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on March 15, 2018.
(MAURO PIMENTEL/AFP/Getty)

Murders of LGBT+ people are on the rise in Brazil

Earlier this month, the political opposition in Brazil said that Bolsonaro’s “macho ideas” are responsible for promoting violence against LGBT+ people and women in the country.

According to Reuters, Fernanda Melchionna, a congresswoman with the opposition Socialism and Liberty Party (PSOL), said: “The LGBT-phobic, sexist declarations from the government contribute to promoting violence.”

study recently published by the Brazilian Forum of Public Security found that LGBT+ murders rose from 99 in 2017 to 109 last year, but it was only able to access data from 10 of Brazil’s 26 states.

A different study by Grupo Gay da Bahia, which looks at social and traditional media reports of crime, suggests that around 320 LGBT+ people were killed in Brazil last year.

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