Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, has been accused of crimes against humanity and eight other crimes over his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
A senate committee report also accused Bolsonaro of improper use of public funds, malfeasance and quackery or charlatanism, among others. A total of 66 people are recommended to be charged by the senate committee, including three of the president’s sons.
As part of his COVID-19 response, the president discouraged the use of face masks and pushed for unproven treatments for COVID-19.
President Bolsonaro has since insisted that he and his government have done the right thing since the start of the pandemic.
As of press time, Brazil has over 21 million COVID-19 cases in total. 603,000 people have died in the country due to COVID-19.
Brazil’s President Accused of Crimes Against Humanity
(Photo : Andressa Anholete/Getty Images)
BRASILIA, BRAZIL – NOVEMBER 19: Jair Bolsonaro, President of Brazil, reacts during Commemorates Brazilian Flag Day amidst the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic at the Planalto Palace on November 19, 2020 in Brasilia. Brazil has over 5.945,000 confirmed positive cases of Coronavirus and has over 167,455 deaths.
Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, has been accused of a total of nine crimes, including crimes against humanity, over his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
A senate committee report has also accused the president of improper use of public funds, malfeasance, inciting crime, and quackery or charlatanism, among others, according to a report by Ars Technica.
A report by the BBC says that the initial draft of the senate committee report “had recommended the president be charged with homicide and genocide against indigenous groups.”
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President Bolsonaro is quoted in the BBC report, saying, “We know that we did the right thing from the first moment.”
Despite the 1,200-paged senate committee report, there is no guarantee that the president and the 65 others being accused in the report will face formal charges. Among the others accused in the report are three of Bolsonaro’s sons.
The Senate committee is set to meet next week to determine if the report will be approved or not. After that, the lower chamber of Brazil’s congress has to sign off as well before the attorney general decides whether or not criminal charges should be pursued.
According to the Ars Technica report, the president will be suspended from his office for 180 days should charges be filed. If President Bolsonaro is convicted, he can be jailed for years and banned from the presidency for eight years.
President Bolsonaro’s COVID-19 Response
The Ars Technica report detailed how President Bolsonaro “downplayed the pandemic.”
Per the report, the Brazilian president “has discouraged mask use, urged local public health officials to lift health restrictions, encouraged mass gatherings, pushed unproven treatments, questioned vaccines, and suggested that the country’s death toll was inflated for political reasons.”
Bolsonaro “suggested that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine can turn people into crocodiles.”
As of press time, Brazil has a total of 21,651,910 COVID-19 cases, according to the data of the World Health Organization (WHO). 603,465 people have died because of COVID-19.
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Written by Isabella James
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