Brazil Supreme Court nod to include Jair Bolsonaro in probe for inciting riots

Brazil Supreme Court nod to include Jair Bolsonaro in probe for inciting riots

Justice Alexandre de Moraes granted the request from prosecutor-general's office which sought Bolsonaro be included in the probe over a now-deleted video he posted on Facebook two days after the riot.

PTIUpdated: Saturday, January 14, 2023, 08:38 AM IST
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Pro-Bolsonaro rioters storm Brazil's top government offices, at least 170 arrested as police take back Congress; visuals surface |

Rio de Janeiro: The Brazilian Supreme Court has agreed to include former president Jair Bolsonaro in the investigation of who instigated the January 8 riots in the national capital as a part of larger crackdown on responsible parties.

A BBC report stated that Justice Alexandre de Moraes granted the request from prosecutor-general's office which sought Bolsonaro be included in the probe over a now-deleted video he posted on Facebook two days after the riot. The video claimed that Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was not voted into office, rather was chosen by the apex court and the electoral authority.

Bolsonaro refrained from speaking on polls since his defeat

Otherwise, Bolsonaro has refrained from commenting on the election since his October 30 defeat. He repeatedly stoked doubt about the reliability of the electronic voting system in the run-up to the vote, filed a request afterward to annul millions of ballots cast using the machines and never conceded.

Prosecutors argued that, although Bolsonaro posted the video after the riot, its content was sufficient to justify investigating his conduct beforehand. Bolsonaro deleted it the morning after he first posted it. He has taken up residence in an Orlando suburb since leaving Brazil in late December and skipping the Jan 1 swearing-in of his leftist successor, and some Democratic lawmakers have urged President Joe Biden to cancel his visa.

Probe in riots case underway

Brazilian authorities are investigating who enabled Bolsonaro's radical supporters to storm the Supreme Court, Congress and presidential palace in an attempt to overturn results of the October election. Targets include those who paid to transport rioters to the capital and local security personnel who may have stood aside to let the mayhem occur.

Much of the attention thus far has focused on Anderson Torres, Bolsonaro's former justice minister, who became the federal district's security chief on January 2, and was in the US on the day of the riot.

Hunt for Anderson Torres on

The Supreme Court's Justice Alexandre de Moraes ordered Torres' arrest this week and has opened an investigation into his actions, which he characterized as "neglect and collusion."

In his decision, which was made public Friday, de Moraes said that Torres fired subordinates and left the country before the riot, an indication that he was deliberately laying the groundwork for the unrest.

The court also issued an arrest warrant for the former security chief, and he must return within three days or Brazil will request his extradition, Justice Minister Flávio Dino said Friday.

"If by next week his appearance hasn't been confirmed, of course we will use mechanisms of international legal cooperation. We will trigger procedures next week to carry out his extradition," Dino said.

Torres maintains his innocence

Torres has denied wrongdoing, and said January 10 on Twitter that he would interrupt his vacation to return to Brazil and present his defense. Three days later, that has yet to occur.

The minister pointed to a document that Brazilian federal police found upon searching Torres' home; a draft decree that would have seized control of Brazil's electoral authority and potentially overturned the election. The origin and authenticity of the unsigned document are unclear, and it remains unknown if Bolsonaro or his subordinates took any steps to implement the measure that would have been unconstitutional, according to analysts and the Brazilian academy of electoral and political law.

But the document "will figure in the police investigation, because it even more fully reveals the existence of a chain of people responsible for the criminal events" Dino said, adding that Torres will need to inform police who drafted it.

No connection established between capital riot and Bolsonaro yet

By failing to initiate a probe against the document's author or report its existence, Torres at very could be charged with dereliction of duty, said Mario Sérgio Lima, a political analyst at Medley Advisors.

Torres said on Twitter that the document was probably found in a pile along with others intended for shredding, and that it was leaked out of context feed false narratives aimed at discrediting him.

Dino told reporters that no connection has yet been established between the capital riot and Bolsonaro.

The federal district's former governor and former military police chief are also targets of the Supreme Court investigation made public Friday. Both were removed from their positions after the riot.

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