Brazil: Senate calls for Bolsonaro to be indicted for his inaction against Covid-19

A parliamentary commission of inquiry (ICC) of the Brazilian Senate requested this Wednesday, September 20 the indictment of President Jair Bolsonaro for 10 “intentional” crimes during the Covid-19 pandemic, including that of “crime against humanity” .

The eagerly awaited report of the commission of inquiry into the management of the pandemic which has killed more than 600,000 people in Brazil was released today. “At the end of six months of intense work, this Parliamentary Commission has gathered evidence which shows that the federal government (…) has acted slowly in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, deliberately putting the population at risk mass infection, ”reads this nearly 12,000-page report.

After hearing members of governments, parliamentarians, scientists, business executives and bereaved families, the committee made up of senators from various political persuasions delivered a verdict that was devastating for the image of the head of state. Four of its ministers and two ex-ministers are also targeted.

Covid-19, a “grippette” for bolsonaro

For the senators, the government has deliberately decided not to take the necessary measures to contain the circulation of the virus, described as “flu” by Jair Bolsonaro. The commission investigated the government’s responsibilities in the serious oxygen shortage that caused the death of dozens of patients, or even suspected corruption in the procurement of vaccines.

The senators also looked at the relations between the government and private health mutuals accused of experimenting without the knowledge of patients with “early treatment”, based in particular on hydroxychloroquine, the ineffectiveness of which has been scientifically proven. One of them, Prevent Senior, is suspected of having pressured doctors to prescribe this type of treatment to “human guinea pigs”.

“Instrument of revenge”

Jair Bolsonaro brushed aside all accusations, calling the commission of inquiry a “masquerade” while his older brother Flavio, a senator, referred to the report as “an instrument of revenge against Bolsonaro and his family”.

The Senate commission has indeed requested the indictment of three sons of the president, suspected of “incitement to crime” through the dissemination of false information.

Bolsonaro at half mast in the polls

These extremely serious accusations should above all have a symbolic significance for the time being, the president benefiting from sufficient support in Parliament to avoid an impeachment procedure. In addition, the report will be sent to the Public Prosecutor’s Office, which has sole jurisdiction to indict the persons incriminated by the parliamentary commission of inquiry. However, specialists consider this indictment unlikely, since it is the responsibility of the Attorney General Augusto Aras, an ally of Jair Bolsonaro.

If the senators on the committee do not have the power to initiate legal proceedings themselves, their disclosures could have considerable political impact. Polls already show Jair Bolsonaro losing to ex-left-wing ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, one year away from the presidential election.

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