Dear Hon. Torquato Jardim, Minister of Justice:
On March 14, 2018, Rio de Janeiro city councillor and women human rights defender Marielle Franco, and her driver Anderson Pedro Gomes, were shot dead in their vehicle.
Marielle was well known in Rio de Janeiro for denouncing human rights violations, mainly against young people, women, black people and LGBTI people. She also worked to expose human rights violations committed by the security forces, including extrajudicial executions.
According to publicly available information, it appears that her killing was carried out by a professional with great ability to handle a firearm. More than 10 shots hit the vehicle, directly where Marielle was seated. She received four shots in the head and at least three shots reached the driver, Anderson Pedro Gomes. They both died at the scene. One of Marielle’s advisors was wounded.
According to media reports, experts identified that the bullets used in the crime belong to the Brazilian Federal Police. Media released security footage indicating that Marielle's car was being followed, strengthening the hypothesis that this was a targeted and premeditated attack.
The murders of Marielle and Anderson occurred in a context of recurrent threats and attacks against human rights defenders in Brazil, where perpetrators of these attacks have relative impunity.
I urge you to:
• Conduct a prompt, thorough, independent, and impartial investigation into the circumstances that led to the deaths of Marielle and Anderson, which identifies not only the perpetrators of the shooting, but also the intellectual authors, and that the results of these investigations are made public;
• Ensure that all those suspected of criminal responsibility are brought to justice in a fair trial;
• Take all appropriate measures to guarantee effective assistance and protection to the families of the victims, including psychological and legal support; and
• Offer immediate protection for the sole survivor of and witnesses to the crime, to prevent any form of harassment, intimidation, or threats.