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Politicians involved in murder of Brazilian activist: govt

© AFP/File | A mural in Rio de Janeiro covered in messages denouncing the murder of Marielle Franco

RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) - 

Politicians and public servants have been linked to the murder of high-profile Brazilian lawmaker and black rights activist Marielle Franco, Brazil's security minister Raul Jungmann said late Friday.

Jungmann, who said the murder may be politically motivated, would not reveal any names at this time because doing so could "hinder progress in the investigation."

Nevertheless "I do not have the slightest doubt that there is nothing that prevents us denouncing them, all of them," Jungmann told reporters.

Franco was murdered on March 14 in what appeared to be a professional hit in the center of Rio de Janeiro.

A rare black city council member, Franco was a prominent critic of police violence in Rio and what she said was the targeting of blacks in the city's poverty-stricken favela neighborhoods.

The 38 year-old Franco, who grew up in the favelas, was also especially concerned with the rights of the LGBTQ community.

Colleagues say the leftist politician was killed because she had angered police and underground paramilitary groups known as militias.

According to Brazilian news reports the politicians presumably linked to the murder are three Rio de Janeiro state deputies belonging to President Michel Temer's MBD party who are in prison serving time for corruption.

Marcelo Freixo, a leftist state deputy and Franco's political mentor who in 2008 discovered the underground paramilitary groups, said that he was called to testify about the possible role of the three jailed deputies in the murder.

"We are not accusing anyone. That is the job of the Civil Police," Freixo wrote on Facebook. "Our job is to press for an answer. We want all of the (murder) theories investigated."

© 2018 AFP