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Covid handling: Brazil senators back criminal charges against Bolsonaro

EPA
Image caption,Jair Bolsonaro was visiting the border with Venezuela on Tuesday to look at the migrant crisis there

EPA
Image caption,Jair Bolsonaro was visiting the border with Venezuela on Tuesday to look at the migrant crisis there

The outcome will be sent to the chief prosecutor, a Bolsonaro appointee.

The president has insisted he is

“guilty of absolutely nothing”

yet the calamities has diminished his admiration.

Brazil’s number of deaths is second only to that of the United States.

There is no certainty this vote will lead to real criminal charges, as the report’s propositions must now be evaluated by Prosecutor-General Augusto Aras, who is anticipated to protect the president.

The report claims that Mr Bolsonaro’s government followed a policy of permitting corona virus to spread forcefully and rapidly through the country in the hope of attaining herd immunity.

It recounts the president as

“the main person responsible for the errors committed by the federal government during the pandemic”.

Centrist Senator Renan Calheiros, the report’s lead author,called for the panel’s suggestions to charge President Bolsonaro with crimes against humanity to be forwarded to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Brazil is a party to the Rome Statute, which created the ICC, therefore the international court could take up the case.

Nonetheless a referral would only be a first step in a very long process in which it would be up to the ICC to ascertain the worthiness of the case and whether to take it forward.

In addition to crimes against humanity, the Senate committee has recommended eight further charges be brought against Mr Bolsonaro in Brazilian courts, in addition to incitement to crime, falsification of documents and the infringement of social rights.

Mr Bolsonaro is also accused of misusing public funds and spreading misinforming and deceiving news about the epidemic.

The 1,300-page report also suggested bringing charges against two corporations and 77 other people, as well as three of the president’s adult sons.

Squel to the announcement, Senator Calheiros declared that the

“chaos of Jair Bolsonaro’s government will enter history as the lowest level of human destitution”.

The vote ended a six-month investigation which has spotlighted outrageous wrongdoing and corruption inside the government.

The Senate’s suggestion is anticipated to be delivered to the prosecutor-general on Wednesday morning. His office stated it would be carefully assessed as soon as it was received, the Associated Press reports.

YouTube removes Bolsonaro videos for Covid misinformation

Throughout the process, Mr Bolsonaro has maintained that his government

“did the right thing from the first moment” of the epidemic and his allies have been quick to disregard Tuesday’s suggestions as being driven entirely by “political and electoral” motivations.

“It is a totally political report, without any legal basis,”

declared Flavio Bolsonaro, one of the president’s sons accused in the report.

“The intent of some senators on the investigative committee is to cause the maximum amount of wear and tear on the president.”

A Bolsonaro ally, one-time US President Donald Trump, said in a declaration he approved the Brazilian president since

“he fights hard for, and loves, the people of Brazil”.

Today indicated the end of a long process. Six months of hearings, scandals not covered, a light shone on a government accused of rashness.

shortly before the vote, leading senators delivered emotional speeches. Senator Calheiros said the inquiry had mellowed down the clock of death in Brazil.

Randolfe Rodrigues,the inquiry’s vice-president, listed how vital the process had been to put pressure on the government and accelerate vaccinations, and he paid tribute to those at the fore front of containing the pandemic.

Yet for many, it’s too little, too late – the families of the dead will be desirous to know where this investigation will lead. Will Mr Bolsonaro have to stand up in court to defend his actions?

The inquiry’s president, Omar Aziz, stated the federal prosecutor had a duty to investigate the proof gathered these past few months – still not everyone believe justice will be done.

Mr Bolsonaro caused outrage in March, when he told Brazilians to “stop whining” about Covid, a day after the country saw a record increase in deaths over a 24-hour period.

He has continued to spread fake news on social media and, on Monday, Facebook removed a video in which the president incorrectly asserted a link between Covid-19 vaccines and Aids.

YouTube blocked the video and suspended Mr Bolsonaro’s channel for a week.

Brazil, a country of 208 million people, has recorded not less than 606,000 deaths and 21.7 million cases of infection, Johns Hopkins University declares.

More on this story

Bolsonaro should face charges over pandemic – report

Thousands protest against Brazil’s president

Fact-checking President Bolsonaro’s UN speech

Jair Bolsonaro: Only God will remove me from power

Bolsonaro: I’ll be killed, arrested or re-elected

YouTube removes Bolsonaro videos for Covid misinfo

Related Topics

Jair Bolsonaro

Fake News

Brazil

Coronavirus pandemic

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