Brazil's Bolsonaro furious as his name is cited in murder case

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro broadcast a live message on social media about an hour after Globo TV said his name had been cited by the doorman of his own gated housing community during the inquiry into the death of Ms Marielle Franco.
Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro broadcast a live message on social media about an hour after Globo TV said his name had been cited by the doorman of his own gated housing community during the inquiry into the death of Ms Marielle Franco.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

BRASILIA (BLOOMBERG) - Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro, angry over a report that cited his name in the investigation of a high-profile murder of a Rio de Janeiro councilwoman last year, lashed out during a state visit to Saudi Arabia.

The President broadcast a live message on social media about an hour after Globo TV said his name had been cited by the doorman of his own gated housing community in Rio de Janeiro during the inquiry into the death of Ms Marielle Franco.

One of the two former police officers who have been arrested in the killing was a neighbour of Mr Bolsonaro.

Mr Bolsonaro also gave an interview to a competing TV network, Record.

"I'm available to be heard, I'd love to be heard," he told Record TV, adding he had never heard of Ms Franco before her death and accusing Rio de Janeiro Governor Wilson Witzel of leaking details of an investigation by Rio's police.

During the live broadcast that started at 3.50am in Riyadh and went on for more than 20 minutes, Mr Bolsonaro, who's on a tour of the Middle East and Asia, repeatedly accused Globo of trying to undermine his government and Mr Witzel of playing dirty to defeat him in the next presidential elections.

Mr Witzel responded that he never interferes in police investigations and had not disclosed details of the case.

"I'm being unfairly attacked," he said in an e-mailed statement. "Yet I'll continue to seek balance and common sense in personal and institutional relations."

The March 2018 murder of Ms Franco, a 38-year-old black politician from one of Rio's poorest and most violent communities, shocked Brazilians, who have demanded an explanation for the crime.

 

So far, the two former officers have been charged with carrying out the killing but several questions - including who else might have been involved in the murder and who ordered it, and why - remain unanswered.

Mr Bolsonaro was elected last October after running on a conservative platform that promised a crackdown on crime and corruption.