Rio lawmaker Marcelo Freixo ‘to flee’ Rio after threats

Armed men run through a favela in a scene from Tropa de Elite 2

A congressman in Rio de Janeiro says he will flee Brazil with his family on Tuesday after an escalation of threats to his life.

Since 2006, Marcelo Freixo’s work to expose the city’s militias has earned him a price on his head of 400,000 reais (£143,000; $230,000).

It was his campaign that inspired Brazil’s biggest grossing movie to date, last year’s Tropa de Elite 2, which shows how militias – gangs formed of current and former police, firemen, soldiers and security guards – are taking over from the traditional scourge of drug dealers in the city’s slums.

These militias run services such as gas, water and alternative transport in slums, as well as charging protection money and ruling with violence and fear.

Police units have tackled crime in some Rio slums but militias are a growing threat

A further source of concern was the murder on 11 August of judge Patricia Acioli. It led to the resignation of chief of police Mario Sergio Duarte and the arrest of a large number of police officers.

The murder of the judge, known for her hard line against corrupt police in the dock, sparked comparisons with the Italian Mafia and is one of the reasons for Mr Freixo’s decision to leave.

“Patricia Acioli was threatened but at the time everyone said that no-one would kill her,” he said.

He will travel to Europe on the invitation of Amnesty International although the destination has not been disclosed.

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Source: BBC News Read the full story

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