Brazil lawmakers recommend charges for Bolsonaro over handling of pandemic
Brazilian lawmakers on Tuesday recommended indicting President Jair Bolsonaro on nine charges related to his response and handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Brazilian Senate investigative committee, in its report that was approved on Tuesday, recommended that Bolsonaro be charged with crimes against humanity, incitement to crime and charlatanism, among other counts, according to CNN.
His government is being accused of allowing COVID-19 to spread rapidly throughout Brazil in an effort to reach herd immunity, CNN reported. That goal, however, was not achieved.
The lawmakers also accused 77 other individuals and two companies of committing crimes in their report, according to Reuters, which took the opposition-led committee roughly six months to write and is longer than 1,300 pages.
Bolsonaro’s office did not immediately respond to Reuters’s request for comment.
A preliminary report was released last week and said Bolsonaro should be charged with genocide and murder, but the lawmakers moved to nix those charges for what they described as technical reasons, according to Reuters.
The news outlet noted that it is not likely that Bolsonaro will ultimately be charged with any crimes since Brazil’s prosecutor-general, who was appointed by the president, would have to hand down that indictment. Bolsonaro has reportedly called the Senate’s probe a “joke.”
Bolsonaro has emerged as a COVID-19 skeptic throughout the pandemic, even though the virus has significantly rocked his country. He previously opposed vaccines, and at one point said he was “bored” with questions about Brazil’s rising COVID-19 death poll.
He has also been accused of spreading COVID-19 misinformation.
The recommendation for charges against Bolsonaro comes ahead of the country’s 2022 presidential election.
Former U.S. President Trump threw his support behind Bolsonaro on Tuesday, endorsing his “great friend” for reelection.
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