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Witness Accuses City Councilor in Murder of Marielle Franco; Politician Denies Connection

05/10/2018 - 10h01

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LUCAS VETTORAZZO
BERNARDO TABAK
FROM RIO DE JANEIRO

On Wednesday, May 9, Rio de Janeiro City Councilor Marcello Siciliano (PHS) denied the accusation that he had ordered the targeted killing of another city councilor, Marielle Franco (PSOL) - Franco was murdered on March 14.

Newspaper O Globo says that a witness, who gave three testimonies to the police in exchange for protection, worked for a paramilitary group and gave detailed information on dates, schedules and meeting places where Siciliano and Orlando Oliveira de Araújo (a former police officer, currently arrested after accusations of leading a militia group) allegedly planned the crime.

Danilo Verpa/Folhapress
Portrait of Councilor Marielle Franco in Sao Paulo
Portrait of Councilor Marielle Franco in Sao Paulo

The newspaper said that the witness also stated he saw four conversations between Siciliano and Araújo (at the time, the latter was a fugitive) and named four men allegedly chosen to kill Marielle Franco.

The witness also said that Franco's political incursions into Cidade de Deus, a major slum in the city's west zone out of militia control, sparked the actions by Siciliano and Araújo.

On Wednesday morning, Siciliano called a press conference to deny the accusations. He said that the information disclosed by the newspaper is a "factoid" and denied connections with the former police officer.

"My relationship with Marielle was very good; I don't understand why this factoid against me was created," said Siciliano.

City councilor Siciliano has an area of political influence with many voters in the neighborhood of Vargem Grande, which is dominated by militia groups who charge business owners and residents for services. He has already testified in the case as a witness.

Translated by THOMAS MUELLO

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