Bangkok Post

Brazil’s Bolsonaro may face 11 charges in pandemic probe


>>RIO DE JANEIRO: A Brazilian Senate probe into the government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic will recommend in its final report due next week that President Jair Bolsonaro face 11 criminal charges, the senator leading the inquiry said on Friday, though it remains highly unlikely that he will face a trial on any such charges.

Renan Calheiros said during a radio interview that the investigat­ion launched in April has collected evidence to show that Mr Bolsonaro should be formally charged with genocide against the country’s indigenous population, malfeasanc­e, irregular use of public funds, violation of sanitary measures, incitement to crime and forgery of private documents, among other crimes.

The far-right president, who himself was infected with the coronaviru­s in July 2020, has railed against lockdown measures, pushed unproven cures, sowed vaccine doubts and downplayed the severity of Covid-19.

The report is scheduled to be released by the Senate investigat­ive panel on Tuesday. The panel’s members the following day are set to vote on approving the text before sending it on the attorney general’s office on Thursday to decide if Mr Bolsonaro and others should be charged.

The attorney general’s office can charge the president, but the Supreme Court, which would try him, must request authorisat­ion from the lower house to proceed. Experts say the lower house is highly unlikely to sign off on such a request.

The report is also likely to recommend that some of Mr Bolsonaro’s sons and his former Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello also be charged with crimes, Mr Calheiros said.

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