Riots in Brasilia: Almost a third of 1,400 prisoners released on bail

Riots in Brasilia: Almost a third of 1,400 prisoners released on bail

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Judge Alexandre de Moraes in Brasilia, January 9, 2023. President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and judge Alexandre de Moraes in Brasilia, January 9, 2023. UESLEI MARCELINO/ Portal

A Supreme Court (STF) judge has decided to provisionally release 464 people suspected of taking part in the violent uprising in Brasilia while 942 others remain in detention, his office said on Friday (January 20).

Alexandre de Moraes has reviewed 1,406 files of people suspected of involvement in the invasion and looting of power centers in the capital, the STF said in a statement on Friday.

More than 2,000 people have been arrested since January 8, when thousands of supporters of far-right ex-President Jair Bolsonaro stormed the presidential palace, Congress and the Supreme Court, destroying furniture, priceless artworks and some infrastructure.

The attack came a week after left-wing icon Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva came to power and won the presidential election last October.

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In the days following the violence, the judiciary ruled that special cases such as the elderly, pregnant women and mothers of young children should be released on humanitarian grounds before being heard.

Mr Moraes, on the other hand, ordered the preventive detention of 942 people, arguing there was evidence the detainees had participated in “acts of terrorism”, a criminal organisation, the violent overthrow of the rule of law and a coup d’état.

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For the judge, the detainees may have committed “unlawful and extremely serious” acts and the indefinite pre-trial detention is necessary to “ensure public order and ensure the effectiveness of the investigation”.

Electronic bracelet and ban on using social networks

However, he called for the provisional release of 464 other detainees under certain conditions, such as wearing an electronic bracelet and a ban on using social media.

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Regarding these cases, Mr Moraes said that despite strong suspicions of responsibility and involvement in crimes, particularly in trying to overthrow a legitimately formed government, evidence has not yet been collected.

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Jair Bolsonaro is the subject of investigations by the Brazilian authorities, who suspect him of instigating the riots, and 16 investigations into electoral irregularities.

The former president, who visited the United States two days before the transfer of power, denies all these allegations.

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The world with AFP