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Suspicions of “coup attempt” hover over former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro

Photo: Sergio Lima Archives Agence France-Presse Former President Jair Bolsonaro was defeated in October 2022 in his re-election bid against Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

France Media Agency to Brasília

11:05 a.m.

  • Americas

Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro was targeted by a police operation on Thursday as part of an investigation into suspicions of an “attempted coup” — which culminated in the riots in January 8, 2023 in Brasília — and will return his passport to the authorities.

“In accordance with the decisions taken today”, Mr. Bolsonaro will “hand over his passport to the authorities”, wrote on X (formerly Twitter) Fabio Wajngarten, lawyer and close collaborator of the former leader of the State (2019-2022).

The federal police announced, in a press release, that they had launched a vast operation, with 33 searches and 4 arrest warrants, as part of an investigation into “a criminal organization which took part in an attempted coup d'état […] to obtain political advantages with the maintenance of the president of the time in power.”

The president in question is Jair Bolsonaro, defeated in October 2022 in his attempt at re-election against Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

A week after Lula's inauguration, on January 8, 2023, thousands of Bolsonaristas ransacked places of power in Brasília, during riots similar to the invasion of the Capitol two years earlier in United States.

Four generals were targeted by Thursday's operation, such as Walter Braga Netto, former Minister of Defense and vice-presidential candidate alongside Jair Bolsonaro, and Augusto Heleno, ex-minister of Institutional security firm, we can read in a legal document from the prosecution.

“Relentless Persecution”

The federal police evoke an attempt to “disseminate suspicions of fraud in the 2022 presidential elections even before the vote is held, to legitimize a military intervention”.

The plan would have initially consisted of “the propagation of false information about the weaknesses of the electronic voting system”.

The police then mention “the practice of acts to abolish the democratic rule of law through a coup d'état, with the support of the military.”

Sentenced to eight years of ineligibility last year for disseminating false information on the electronic voting system, Jair Bolsonaro has been surrounded by business, notably for corruption, since he left power end of 2022.

“I have not governed for more than a year and I continue to suffer relentless persecution,” the ex-president declared Thursday to a journalist from the daily Folha de S. Paulo.

“Forget me, there’s someone else running the country,” he added.

Last week, one of Mr. Bolsonaro's sons was targeted by another police operation, as part of an investigation into illegal espionage under the government of the ex-president of extreme right.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116