Rampage in Brazil: Bolsonaro under investigation, an ex-minister arrested

Bolsonarist former Justice Minister Anderson Torres was arrested on Saturday and former President Jair Bolsonaro is himself directly targeted for his role in the ransacking of national institutions in Brasilia.

Anderson Torres, who was Brasilia’s security secretary at the time of the January 8 violence, was arrested on Saturday upon his arrival at Brasilia airport as part of the investigation into the rampages, local media reported.

Suspected of connivance with the rioters accused of having fomented a remake of the assault on the American Capitol on January 6, 2021, Mr. Torres, who claims his innocence, was arrested as he was returning by plane from the United States to present in court.

This arrest comes the day after Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes announced the inclusion, as requested by the General Prosecutor’s Office, of the former far-right head of state Jair Bolsonaro in his investigation aimed at discover the possible instigators of this violence.

Mr. Bolsonaro, narrowly beaten by the left-wing candidate Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in the October presidential election, “made a public incitement to the execution of a crime” by broadcasting on social networks a video “highlighting causes the regularity of the presidential election of 2022″, explained the prosecution in a press release.

This video was published two days after the invasion of the headquarters of the presidency, Congress and the Supreme Court by thousands of bolsonarists, then deleted, recalled the prosecution.

But it could, according to him, provide “a link of proof” justifying “a global investigation into the acts carried out before and after January 8, 2023” by Mr. Bolsonaro.

– Lavish spending –

The former president “has never had the slightest connection or participation with these movements”, his lawyers said in a press release sent to AFP, attributing the violence in Brasilia to “infiltrated” elements.

Mr. Bolsonaro, who has been in the United States since the end of December, had also been pinned on Friday for lavish expenses during his mandate, such as the 20,000 euros disbursed at once in a modest restaurant in northern Brazil or the 10,000 euros in a bakery the day after her son’s wedding.

Account statements for the presidential credit card over his four years in office (2019-2022) have been published on an official website of the Lula government, which has begun to lift a secrecy imposed for 100 years by his predecessor on thousands of official documents.

Before his return on Saturday, current Justice Minister Flavio Dino said he was considering an arrest warrant for Anderson Torres.

He is implicated after the discovery of a three-page document found at his home: he provided for the federal government to take control of the Superior Electoral Tribunal (TSE), which oversees the smooth running of the ballot, “to ensure the preservation and the restoration of transparency, and approve the regularity of the electoral process for the presidential election of 2022”.

A measure considered unconstitutional by many jurists. In practice, the intention would have been to annul Lula’s election.

– “Rebellion” –

The presidential decree – which never saw the light of day – provided for the creation of an “electoral regulation commission” to replace the TSE, headed by a majority of members from the Ministry of Defense (8 out of 17).

The document is not dated, but the name of Jair Bolsonaro is at the end, on a space provided for his signature.

“While 33 million people were suffering from hunger, they were preparing a coup,” left-wing senator Randolfe Rodrigues, leader of the Lula government’s parliamentary bloc in the upper house, tweeted on Friday.

“This shows that what we saw on January 8 was not an isolated act. (The draft decree) is one of the links in a putschist chain”, Flavio Dino had already declared Thursday evening.

Federal police told AFP they could not comment on an ongoing investigation.

Mr Torres had said on Twitter on Thursday night that the draft was “probably in a pile of documents meant to be destroyed in due course”, and claimed his disclosure was taken out of context.

The former minister had held the position of head of security for the Federal District of Brasilia since January 2, but had gone on vacation shortly after.

Add a Comment