Former Bolsonist Justice Minister Anderson Torres was arrested in Brazil on Saturday, January 14, and former President Jair Bolsonaro himself is being targeted directly for his possible role in the looting of federal institutions in the capital, Brasilia.
Mr Torres, who was Brasilia’s security secretary at the time of the Jan. 8 violence, was arrested upon his arrival at Brasilia airport as part of the investigation into the killing spree, local media reported, as he was returning from the United States to appear in court. Mr Torres, who maintains his innocence, is suspected of collusion with the rioters accused of instigating a repeat attack on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.
This arrest comes a day after Federal Supreme Court Judge Alexandre de Moraes announced that the Attorney General’s Office had requested the inclusion of the former far-right leader in its probe into the possible instigators of the violence.
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“Public incitement to commit a crime”
Narrowly beaten by left-wing candidate Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva for October’s presidential election, Mr Bolsonaro “made a public call for the carrying out of a crime” by broadcasting a video on social networks “explaining the causes of the regularity of the… Presidential elections were highlighted in 2022,” prosecutors said in a press release.
Mr Bolsonaro, who has been in the US since late December, was also singled out on Friday for overspending during his tenure, about €20,000 at a time at a modest restaurant in northern Brazil or €10,000 at a bakery the day after his son’s wedding .
Statements of the president’s credit card over his four-year term (2019-2022) have been released on an official website of the Lula administration, which has begun to lift a hundred-year secrecy imposed on thousands of official documents by his predecessor.
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“A putschist chain”
Before Mr Torres returned on Saturday, current Justice Minister Flavio Dino had considered issuing an arrest warrant. He is implicated following the discovery of a three-page document found at his home: It envisaged the federal government taking control of the Superior Electoral Tribunal (TSE), which oversees the smooth running of the ballot, “to ensure safekeeping and restoring transparency and confirming the regularity of the electoral process for the 2022 presidential election”. A measure that many lawyers regard as unconstitutional. In practice, the intention would have been to annul Lula’s election.
The presidential decree – which never saw the light of day – provided for the establishment of an “election regulation commission” to replace the TSE, chaired by a majority of Defense Department members (eight out of seventeen). The document is undated, but Mr Bolsonaro’s name is at the end, in a space reserved for his signature.
“While 33 million people were starving, they were preparing a coup d’etat,” left-leaning Senator Randolfe Rodrigues, leader of the Lula government’s parliamentary bloc in the Upper House, tweeted on Friday. “It shows that what we saw on January 8th was not an isolated act. [Le projet de décret] is one of the links in a chain of putschists,” said Mr Dino on Thursday evening.
The federal police told AFP that they could not comment on the ongoing investigation. Mr Torres had said more Thursday night Twitter that this draft “is probably in a stack of documents to be destroyed in due course” and claimed that its disclosure was taken out of context. The former minister had held the post of head of security for the federal district of Brasilia since January 2, but went on vacation shortly thereafter.
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