Brazilian Senate Panel Recommends Crime Indictment Against President Bolsonaro

Brazil’s Senate Special Committee on Wednesday (Oct 20) recommended that President Jair Bolsonaro be charged with crimes over his poor handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed more than 600,000 people in the country.

The death toll from COVID-19 in Brazil is the second highest in the world after the United States.

Senator Renan Calheiros is preparing a nearly 1,200-page report accusing Bolsonaro of imposing unproven drugs, such as hydroxychloroquine, and delaying vaccine purchases.

A member of the Rio de Paz NGO puts up a white handkerchief as a symbol of farewell to the 600,000 victims who died from COVID-19 in Brazil, on Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro, on October 8, 2021. (Photo: Reuters/Pilar Olivares)

A member of the Rio de Paz NGO puts up a white handkerchief as a symbol of farewell to the 600,000 victims who died from COVID-19 in Brazil, on Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro, on October 8, 2021. (Photo: Reuters/Pilar Olivares)

The report also called for Bolsonaro to be indicted on a variety of charges, including crimes against humanity, fraud, and incitement to crime.

The committee overturned recommendations in an earlier draft report that alleged that the president had committed genocide and murder. The allegation was removed from the draft recommendations due to opposition from committee members and concerns that overestimation could undermine the report’s credibility.

The report could still be amended before the committee votes on October 26. But the decision to prosecute belongs to Brazil’s public prosecutor, who is an official appointed by the president.

The report concluded that Bolsonaro believed that if he allowed the disease to spread throughout Brazil, the country would achieve “herd immunity”.

The report also suggested that charges be made against dozens of former and current government officials, as well as allies of the president. This includes Bolsonaro’s three sons, one of whom is a prominent senator in Brazil. [jm/em]

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