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Politician denies involvement in councilwoman’s murder

May 9, 2018

FILE - This April 14, 2018 file photo shows an image of slain councilwoman Marielle Franco projected on a wall, where people gather to protest at the site where Franco and her driver Anderson Pedro Gomes were killed a month earlier, during a protest in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Councilman Marcello Siciliano is denying allegations he was involved in plotting the death of his fellow Rio de Janeiro city council member, telling reporters on Wednesday, May that he had a good relationship with Franco, who was killed on March 14. (AP Photo/Leo Correa, File)

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — A Brazilian politician is denying allegations he was involved in plotting the death of a fellow Rio de Janeiro city council member who was a prominent social activist.

Councilman Marcello Siciliano told reporters on Wednesday that he had a good relationship with Marielle Franco, who was killed on March 14.

The O Globo newspaper reported on Tuesday that a witness told police he overheard Siciliano and a former police officer begin plotting Franco’s murder in June. The witness said the former officer belonged to a police-linked militia.

Brazil’s Public Security Minister Raul Jungmann has said that militias may have been responsible for killing Franco. Militias include current and former police officers who vie with criminal gangs for control of Rio’s poor communities. They’ve been accused of summary executions.

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