2022 Race

Pro-Bolsonaro murderer escapes indictment on political crime

Pro-Bolsonaro murderer escapes indictment on political crime
CCTV images show the moment when Jorge Guaranho killed Marcelo Arruda after yelling pro-Bolsonaro slogans.

The Paraná police department announced on Friday that it will indict penitentiary guard Jorge Guaranho for aggravated murder, after he stormed a Lula-themed party over the weekend and killed a man while yelling pro-Bolsonaro slogans. 

The victim was Marcelo Arruda, a municipal guard and treasurer of the Workers’ Party’s Foz do Iguaçu branch. Mr. Arruda confronted Mr. Guaranho and fired back. The gunman is currently hospitalized.

The murder reignited fears of political violence during this year’s elections — especially as the 2022 race is believed to be the most polarized since Brazil’s return to democracy in the 1980s.

Eight political parties, including Lula’s Workers’ Party, presented a petition for the Federal Prosecution Office to ensure the safety of the elections. The parties also accuse President Jair Bolsonaro of propagating hate speech. Two senators introduced a bill to enhance the maximum sentence for politically-motivated murder to 30 years in prison.

On Tuesday, Mr. Bolsonaro called Mr. Arruda’s brothers and invited them to call a press conference to disconnect his image from that of the murderer. The conference has not yet taken place.

Camila Cecconello, head of Paraná’s Homicide Division, said on Friday that there is not enough evidence to indict Mr. Guaranho for a hate crime or to prove political motivations. However, she also said all witnesses confirm the two men did not know each other. “[Mr. Guaranho] really went there to provoke the victim.”

The two circumstances that aggravate the murder are the frivolous motivation behind it, after provoking the fight, and the fact that Mr. Guaranho exposed other people to risk.

Ian Arruda, the lawyer representing the Arruda family, reportedly criticized the indictment decision. He was quoted by news website G1 as suggesting the police work was rushed. “We are not saying the police are not competent, they could have dug deeper until next week.”