Superior Court has denied the federalization of Marielle Franco's murder case

Thus, the case will not be handed over to the Federal Police, escaping the possibility of intervention by Jair Bolsonaro

Translated by: Thiago Moyano

Brasil de Fato | São Paulo (SP) |
Marielle Franco's Institute and the Black Coalition for Rights have launched a campaign against the federalization of the investigation - Renan Olaz/Câmara Municipal do Rio

The 3rd Panel of the Superior Court of Justice (STJ), on Wednesday (27), unanimously denied the request for federalization of Marielle Franco and her driver, Anderson Gomes' murder investigation. So, the investigation of the case continues with the Civil Police and the Public Prosecution Service of Rio de Janeiro.

The federalization request was filed by the former attorney general, Raquel Dodge, in her last decision in office (PGR by its Brazilian Portuguese acronym), in September, 2019.

In January of the same year, according to the newspaper O Globo, public prosecutors from Rio sent in an appeal to the Supreme Court of Justice claiming that the attorney general had proved "procedural mess" and "immeasurable damage" to the crime's investigation. The document is kept secret in the justice department, but was accessed by the news outlet from Rio. 

Dodge, also in her federalization request, justifies that Rio de Janeiro suffers from a lack of "authorities' exemption" and "police malpractice". Besides, the attorney general claims that the case's slowness is a result of the "state agents' inertia". 

Finally, the former attorney sentences Domingos Brazão, former councilman and counselor for Rio de Janeiro's Court of Auditors (TCE by its Brazilian Portuguese acronym), as the murder's mastermind. For the Public Prosecutors in Rio, a conclusion on who ordered the execution is yet to be reached.  

Since Dodge's request has become public, Marielle's family and PSOL have been against the measure. Their main motive is President Jair Bolsonaro (No Party)'s family ties with many suspects of involvement in the crime.  

"We hope the Supreme Court of Justice is prudent and responsible enough not to vote for the federalization of the case. We believe there are no technical reasons for the federalization, and there are political reasons against it, raising serious concerns on the federalization as well", states Mônica Benício, Marielle Franco's widow, on Tuesday morning (26). 

Benício participated in the "Café com o MST", a live promoted by the Landless Workers' Movement (MST by its Brazilian Portuguese acronym), which had among its participants, congressman Marcelo Freixo (PSOL), as well as the former Federal Prosecutor for Citizen's Rights, Deborah Duprat. 

The recent revelations made by the former Justice Minister Sérgio Moro, which shows Bolsonaro's attempts to intervene in Federal Police investigations, are presented by Freixo as a reasonable justification. The congressman is also worried about the investigation having to be restarted "from the ground up", in case it is sent to Brasilia.  

"The Federal Police is a terrible way, the intervention in the Federal Police is very sad. What is happening is extremely grievous, and it is important that the civil society speak up so that we can win this case. We will not conquer anything tomorrow, but we do not want the case to be jeopardized", explains the congressman. 

For the former Federal Prosecutor for Citizen's Rights, transferring the case from the State's Justice to the Federal Court without concluding the investigation would be "six of one, half a dozen of the other". 

"Marielle's case has some things that need to be pointed out, it is a case of extremely grave violations of Humans Rights, and an attack on democracy. First, the investigation would proceed and please the (president's) family, which is in direct contact with the investigators. Another element is that one must analyze the Law from concrete facts, and the Federal Police is completed dominated", says Duprat. 


According to Freixo, the thread that links Bolsonaro's family to militiamen is Fabrício Queiroz, former advisor of senator Flávio Bolsonaro. He is accused by the Public Prosecution Service in Rio de Janeiro of coordinating a scheme with the senator's cabinet's funds, who was a state deputy at the time of the crime. He is believed to have had connections to the Crime's Office, from which Ronnie Lessa and Elcio Queiroz were ordered to execute Marielle Franco and Anderson Gomes. 

"Ronnie Lessa's incarceration marks the imprisonment of a sector of the Rio de Janeiro's crime division that has never been investigated before. So one can have a better idea, the name of this division was "Crime's Office". A group that everybody can identify, knows exactly who are involved, but are simply not investigated. Marielle's case is not a simple investigation, but we do not accept its slowness, it has been two years already and we still do not know who ordered the crime. This wasn't a hate crime committed by Lessa, he is hitman, hired to kill professionally. It is not a hate crime, it is a political crime", explains Freixo. 

Accused of being the executor, Lessa, who has been in jail since October 26th 2018, is Jair Bolsonaro's neighbor. Adriano Magalhães da Nóbrega, former Bope officer, is appointed as the Crime's Office chief, has already been honored by Flávio Bolsonaro in Rio de Janeiro's Lower House (Alerj by its Brazilian Portuguese acronym) in 2003 and 2005. The last distinction was given to the former military officer in prison, where he serves a sentence for homicide. 

Murdered on February 9th 2020, after a police operation aimed at arresting him in Bahia, after being a fugitive for one year, Adriano da Nóbrega is key to understand various crimes, but also to comprehend the relationship between Bolsonaro's family and Rio de Janeiro's militia. 

The former military officer's attorney, Paulo Emílio Catta Preta, in an interview given to O Globo, raised the possibility of his client being murdered for knowing too much. However, he did not specify Nóbrega's secrets. "He said 'doc, nobody is here to arrest me. They want to kill me. If they arrest me, they'll kill me in jail. I'm sure they'll get rid of me to erase any evidence. His words", according to his lawyer. 

All of these elements will be at stake in the Supreme Court of Justice hearing this wednesday (27). For the family, a feeling of anguish remains. "It is a very dramatic moment for us, tomorrow there'll be a tough decision and we are anxious to know its outcome. It is very unfair that we need to go through yet another pain without being present", concludes Mônica Benício. 


Marielle Franco's Institute and the Black Coalition for Rights have launched, on May 20th, a campaign against the federalization of the murder investigation. The initiative has already acquired 100 thousand signatures and the support of 150 movements.

Edited by: Leandro Melito e Rodrigo Chagas