| 11 December 2023, Monday |

Brazil Senate committee approves report calling for Bolsonaro to be indicted

On Tuesday, a Brazilian Senate investigating committee adopted a report calling for President Jair Bolsonaro to be charged for nine crimes, including crimes against humanity, relating to his management of the coronavirus pandemic.

The report, which is over 1,300 pages long and took the opposition-controlled committee around six months to complete, also claims that 77 more persons and two companies were involved in the crimes.

Bolsonaro was charged with genocide and murder in a draft report issued last week, but senators later chose to delete those allegations due to “technical concerns,” according to MPs. They also voted to add ten more people to the list of people who should face charges.

Wilson Lima, the governor of Amazonas’ interior state, was among those added, after asphyxia deaths were caused by a lack of hospital oxygen supplies earlier this year. His government is currently being investigated by the federal government for potential corruption in the purchase of medical equipment.

“The chaos of Jair Bolsonaro’s government will enter history as the lowest level of human destitution,” said Senator Renan Calheiros, rapporteur of the report, adding that the president was “on the side” of dictators, including Adolf Hitler and Augusto Pinochet.

Bolsonaro’s press office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday night.

Lima dismissed the inclusion of his name as political posturing.

“Putting my name in the final report has a motivation that is totally political and electoral,” Lima said in a statement provided by his press office. “I wasn’t even investigated by the committee.”

It is unlikely Bolsonaro will face any formal charges, as they would have to be brought by Brazil’s prosecutor-general, whom the president appointed. The president has previously dismissed the Senate investigation as a “joke.”

Still, the report highlights the right-wing leader’s increasing isolation heading into an election year. His popularity is already flagging due to his handling of the pandemic and stubbornly high inflation.

  • Reuters