RIO DE JANEIRO — A federal court minister on Friday authorized former President Jair Bolsonaro to be included in his investigation to determine who instigated the Jan. 8 riots in the Brazilian capital, part of a series of measures taken to stop to hold the parties involved accountable accounts.
According to the wording of his verdict, Judge Alexandre de Moraes granted the request of the Attorney General, who cited a video Bolsonaro posted on Facebook two days after the revolt.
The video claimed that President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva did not get the job by majority vote, but was elected by the Federal Court of Justice and Brazil’s electoral authority.
JAIR BOLSONARO LIVES NEAR ORLANDO, FLORIDA
Prosecutors from the newly formed group to counter anti-democratic acts claimed hours earlier that while Bolsonaro released the video after the riots, its content was sufficient to warrant an investigation into his conduct before them. The former president deleted it the morning after posting it.
Apart from that, Bolsonaro has refrained from commenting on the election since his defeat on October 30.
In the run-up to the election, he repeatedly expressed doubts about the reliability of the country’s electronic voting system and later filed a request to have millions of votes cast on those machines cancelled, without admitting that he had lost.
Bolsonaro has lived in the Orlando suburbs since leaving Brazil in late December and was absent from his successor’s inauguration on January 1. Some US lawmakers have urged President Joe Biden to cancel his visa.
Following the judge’s decision late Friday, Bolsonaro’s attorney Frederick Wassef said in a statement on Jan. 8 that the former president “vehemently opposes the acts of vandalism and destruction” but accused alleged “trespassers” in the protest, something that far from him – right-wing supporters have also affirmed.
The statement also said that Bolsonaro “never had any relationship or participation in these spontaneous social movements.”
Brazilian authorities are investigating who allowed radical Bolsonaro supporters to raid the Supreme Court, Congress and the presidential palace to overturn October’s election results.
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The role of those who paid to transport the rioters to the capital and the security personnel who may have turned a blind eye and caused chaos is being investigated.
So far, much attention has focused on Anderson Torres, Bolsonaro’s former attorney general, who became federal district security chief on Jan. 2 and was in the United States on the day of the riots.
De Moraes this week ordered Torres’ arrest and launched an investigation into his actions, which he says were marked by “negligence and collusion”.
In his decision, published on Friday, De Moraes said Torres fired his subordinates and left the country before the unrest, an indication that he deliberately set the stage for unrest.
At least 300 people were arrested for the anti-democracy attacks, which were widely condemned by all Brazilian institutions and the international community.
The highest court also issued an arrest warrant for the former security chief, and he must return within three days or Brazil will seek his extradition, Justice Minister Flávio Dino said on Friday.
“Of course, if his presentation is not confirmed by next week, we will use international cooperation mechanisms. We will start procedures next week to carry out his extradition,” Dino said.
Torres has denied committing any crime and tweeted on January 10 that he was interrupting his vacation to return to Brazil to defend himself. Three days later he did not.
The minister referred to a document that the Brazilian federal police found during a search of Torres’s home: a draft decree that would have seized control of Brazil’s electoral authority and potentially overturned the election results.
Hundreds of supporters of former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro stormed the headquarters of the National Congress this Sunday to demand military intervention to overthrow President Lula da Silva.
The origin and authenticity of the unsigned document are unknown, and it is unknown if Bolsonaro or his subordinates took any action to implement the measure, which analysts and the Brazilian Academy of Electoral and Political Law have said would have been unconstitutional.
But the document “will appear in the police investigation because it more fully reveals the existence of a chain of people responsible for the criminal acts,” Dino said, adding that Torres must inform the police who wrote it.
By failing to investigate the document’s author or report its existence, Torres could be accused of dereliction of duty, said Mario Sérgio Lima, political analyst at Medley Advisors.
Torres said on Twitter that the document was likely found in a pile meant for shredding and that it was taken out of context, fueling false narratives aimed at discrediting him.
Dino told reporters Friday morning that no link had been made between the unrest in the capital and Bolsonaro.
The former governor of the federal district and the former chief of the military police are also targets of the investigations by the Federal Court of Justice published on Friday. Both were expelled after the revolt.
Separately, the popular social media accounts of several prominent far-right figures in Brazil were suspended Friday night in response to a court order obtained by journalist Glenn Greenwald and detailed in a live social media broadcast.
The order, also issued by Judge De Moraes, targeted six social media platforms and set a two-hour window to suspend accounts or otherwise face fines. The accounts include a digital influencer, a YouTuber recently elected to the federal legislature, a podcast host, and an evangelical pastor and senator-elect.