An inquiry committee in the Brazilian Senate has approved a report demanding that President Jair Bolsonaro be indicted for nine crimes related to his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, among them crimes against humanity.
- Brazil’s opposition-controlled committee has prepared a lengthy report on President Jair Bolsonaro’s handling of the COVID – 19 pandemic
- A Senate committee has approved the report, which also mentions dozens of other people in the government
- It is unlikely that the report will go anywhere, as the next action will have to be taken by the Prosecutor General, one appointed by Mr Bolsonaro
The report – which is more than 1,300 pages long and took the opposition-controlled committee about six months to prepare – also claims that 77 additional individuals and two companies had committed crimes.
A draft report released last week had called on Mr Bolsonaro to be charged with genocide and murder, but senators later decided to drop these special charges because of what they called “technical reasons”.
They also decided to add 10 people to the list of people to be prosecuted.
Among the people added was Wilson Lima, the governor of the inner Amazon state, where lack of oxygen supplies from hospitals led to deaths due to asphyxia earlier this year.
Sir. Lima’s government is under federal investigation for alleged corruption in the purchase of medical devices.
Senator Renan Calheiros, the report’s rapporteur, said the president was “on the side” of dictators, including Adolf Hitler and Augusto Pinochet.
“The chaos in Jair Bolsonaro’s government will go down in history as the lowest level of human distress,” Senator Calheiros said.
Bolsonaro’s press office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Sir. Lima rejected the inclusion of his name as a political position.
“Putting my name in the final report has a motivation that is completely political and electoral,” Mr Lima said in a statement from his press office.
“I was not even examined by the committee.”
It is unlikely that Mr Bolsonaro will face any formal charges, as they will have to be raised by Brazil’s general prosecutors appointed by the president.
The president has previously dismissed the Senate inquiry as a “joke.”
Yet the report highlights the rising isolation of the right-wing leader on his way into an election year.
His popularity is already declining due to his handling of the pandemic and stubbornly high inflation.