Friday, April 12, 2024

Bolsonaro ordered to appear in court

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Brazil’s Supreme Court has ordered ex-President Jair Bolsonaro to testify over his alleged role in his supporters storming government buildings to protest his election defeat.

Prosecutors say he incited the riots in January by questioning the legitimacy of the election result.

Bolsonaro has been told to appear in court within 10 days.

He left Brazil in December, days before he was due to hand over power, and returned in March.

The former far-right leader’s supporters, who claim the election was rigged, rampaged through offices and vandalised artworks in the country’s Supreme Court, Congress, and presidential palace on January 8.

They also camped outside army barracks, calling for a military coup to oust new President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who is known as Lula.

More than 1 500 people have been arrested over the incident, including several top officials, but Bolsonaro denies any role in encouraging the riot.

He was in Florida at the time but investigators argue his rhetoric incited the rioters. He repeatedly questioned the validity of the result and said that only God or death could remove him from office.

Lula narrowly beat Bolsonaro in a tense presidential run-off on October 30, a defeat Bolsonaro never publicly recognised.

Prosecutors want him to face questioning over a video he posted online, and later deleted, in which he claimed that President Lula was not voted into office but rather chosen by the Supreme Court and Brazil’s electoral authority.

They said their probe would be a “full investigation of all acts before and after” the riots.

Upon his return to Brazil, Bolsonaro took a swipe at Lula’s government. “Those people who are in power now won’t be able to just do what they like,” he said.

The investigation into alleged incitement is not the only legal challenge he faces.

There is also a probe into whether he tried to illegally import and keep millions of dollars’ worth of jewellery gifted to him and his wife by Saudi Arabia in 2019. (BBC)

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