On Tuesday, Brazilian authorities announced that they had two suspects in the case of slain councilwoman Marielle Franco, who was admired and loathed for her advocacy around racial equality, women’s and LGBTQ rights and police brutality. Ten months after her March 2018 killing, Brazilian news outlet G1 reported that local police have arrested one suspect, Ronald Paulo Alves Pereira, while a second, Adriano Magalhães da Nóbrega, remains at large.
Pereira, a military police officer and militia commander, and Nóbregais, the leader of the Office of Crime for a militia that controls the Rio das Pedras neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro who is believed to be the hired assassin, both have ties to Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro, a newly-elected far-right leader who has been compared to President Donald Trump for his policies and treatment of LGBTQ individuals, women’s rights and the country’s Indigenous communities.
According to Broadly, Nóbregais and Pereira, who was being investigated for his alleged leading role in the death of five young people in Rio’s Baixada Fluminense district, were honored by senator-elect Flávio Bolsonaro, the president’s son, in the midst of the probe.
“I cannot be held accountable for the behavior of someone I do not know, whose actions have only been reported now by this organization,” Flávio wrote in a statement he shared on Twitter Tuesday.
Nota à Imprensa pic.twitter.com/bIOsbpKeCM
— Flavio Bolsonaro (@FlavioBolsonaro) January 22, 2019
After Franco’s death, then-presidential hopeful Bolsonaro was the only candidate to not make a statement addressing her killing, with his own campaign adviser saying that Bolsonaro’s opinion on the matter was “too controversial.” Both he and his son have also expressed approval of death squads like that of which Pereira and Nóbrega are a part of. In 2003, the president stated that groups like such “replaced the death penalty” in the country.
In addition to Pereira and Nóbrega, special units issued arrest warrants for 11 other men in relation to the organized crime.
Franco’s life and dedication to marginalized communities will be honored by one of Rio’s Samba Schools at Brazil’s carnival this year.