five years later, the murder remains unsolved

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This Tuesday marks five years since the murder of City Councilor Marielle Franco and her driver Anderson Gomes, and the motives for the crime remain unknown. 

Ms. Franco, a first-term councilwoman in Rio de Janeiro and member of the left-wing Socialism and Freedom Party (Psol), was shot dead on the night of March 14, 2018. She was 38. 

At a ministerial cabinet meeting today, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva paid a moment of silence in tribute to Marielle.

Last month, Justice Minister Flávio Dino announced that the Federal Police had opened an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the murders. In his inaugural speech earlier this year, Mr. Dino said that solving the Marielle Franco case is a “matter of honor.”

“In five years, this is the first time the government has truly committed to justice for the case,” Racial Equality Minister Anielle Franco, Marielle’s sister, tweeted. She added: “Discovering who ordered Marielle’s murder is a democratic duty.”

In 2019, former police officers Ronnie Lessa and Élcio Vieira de Queiroz were arrested and charged for the double homicide. They are remanded in custody, awaiting trial. No one has been charged for ordering the crime.

The main investigations on the case have so far been conducted at the state level, with several changes in command. Over the years, Rio’s police assigned five different officers to take charge of the case. At the state prosecutor’s office, three different teams were assigned to the inquiry.

A few weeks before her murder, Ms. Franco had been selected as the rapporteur of a city council committee to oversee the federal intervention decreed in Rio by then-President Michel Temer, which placed the military in charge of security in the whole state. Jair Bolsonaro was the only presidential candidate at the time not to condemn the crime.

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