Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro
Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro
(CP24/Twitter)

Rio de Janeiro: Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro has granted a Christmas pardon to police officers convicted of involuntary crimes, according to an item in the country's official gazette published Tuesday.

The pardon applies to police who acted in self-defense or out of necessity, for example if while doing so they accidentally killed a bystander.

It benefits those who have served at least one-sixth of their sentence, and includes police if they took action while off-duty to eliminate risks to themselves or others.

Bolsonaro, who was elected on a law-and-order platform, has pledged to defend cops and said those who shoot criminals should be given medals rather than face legal processes. However, he also said repeatedly before taking office that his administration wouldn't offer any pardons. Earlier this month he announced his intention to pardon cops.

The decision is controversial given that extrajudicial killings by Brazilian police have sometimes been wrongly classified as acts of self-defense.

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Free Press Journal

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