Brazil Senators Back Criminal Charges Against Bolsonaro

Brazil Senators Back Criminal Charges Against Bolsonaro
Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro
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A Brazilian Senate committee approved a damning report on Tuesday that recommends criminal charges be brought against President Jair Bolsonaro, including crimes against humanity, for his Covid policies.

Seven of the panel’s 11 senators voted to endorse the text — presented last week after a six-month investigation into Brazil’s pandemic response — which also calls for the indictment of 77 other people, including several ministers and three of Bolsonaro’s children.

Read Also: Brazil’s President Faces More Corruption Accusations

The nearly 1,200-page report also urges Brazil’s Supreme Court to suspend the far-right leader’s access to his accounts on social media platforms YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for falsely alleging that Covid-19 vaccines were linked to AIDS.

Following dozens of often tense and harrowing hearings, the report finds Bolsonaro “deliberately exposed” Brazilians to “mass infection” in a disastrous attempt to reach herd immunity from the coronavirus.

The report calls for the president to be indicted for nine crimes related to his downplaying Covid-19 and flouting expert advice on containing it.

They include ‘crimes against humanity,’ ‘prevarication,’ ‘charlatanism,’ and incitement to crime.

The committee does not have the power to bring charges itself, and it is unlikely the attorney general or lower-house speaker — both Bolsonaro allies — will open criminal or impeachment proceedings.

But the report adds to the damage as Bolsonaro reels from his lowest-ever approval ratings, heading into an election in one year’s time that polls place him on track to lose to leftist ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

And the crimes against humanity charge theoretically has the potential to be tried at the International Criminal Court in the Hague.

After the vote the senators observed a minute of silence in tribute to the 606,000 Brazilians who have died from Covid — a toll second only to the United States.

‘We can no longer tolerate this type of behavior,’ the lawmakers said in a court filing earlier signed by the panel’s deputy chair, opposition Senator Randolfe Rodrigues.

The committee hearings, broadcast live, have featured emotional witness statements and chilling revelations about the use of ineffective medication on “human guinea pigs.”

The senators’ court filing called for the authorities to lift the data confidentiality on Bolsonaro’s social media accounts and order Facebook and Twitter, as well as YouTube owner Google, to provide normally secret information on the president’s usage.

The document also called on the high court to order Bolsonaro to make a retraction in a nationally televised address, “refuting any correlation between vaccination against the coronavirus and developing AIDS,” or face a fine of 50,000 reais ($9,000) for every day he fails to comply.

 

AFRICA DAILY NEWS, NEW YORK

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