RIO DE JANEIRO — A congressional panel in Brazil voted to advocate 9 legal prices in opposition to President Jair Bolsonaro, together with “crimes in opposition to humanity,” accusing Mr. Bolsonaro of deliberately permitting the coronavirus to unfold unchecked by way of Brazil in a bid to succeed in herd immunity.
With the vote on Tuesday night time, the Senate panel additionally beneficial prices in opposition to 77 different folks, together with authorities officers, non-public residents and three of Mr. Bolsonaro’s sons, for quite a lot of crimes associated to their response to the pandemic. The panel additionally beneficial prices in opposition to two firms.
In a six-month investigation, the panel discovered that Mr. Bolsonaro and members of his administration discouraged folks from sporting masks, ignored provides of vaccines and promoted unproven medication lengthy after they have been discovered to be ineffective.
The report discovered that the actions, taken collectively, led to tons of of hundreds of deaths. Brazil has had greater than 600,000 deaths from Covid, second solely to the US, the place greater than 737,000 have died.
Seven senators voted for the almost 1,300-page report and 4 voted in opposition to it. The report had largely been managed by the panel’s seven-member majority, all of whom oppose Mr. Bolsonaro, a strident, right-wing populist.
Mr. Bolsonaro’s workplace didn’t reply to a request for remark. Instantly after the vote, former President Donald J. Trump, who has a heat relationship with Mr. Bolsonaro, issued an announcement supporting him: “Brazil is fortunate to have a person reminiscent of Jair Bolsonaro working for them!”
The report now heads to Brazil’s lawyer normal, who may have 30 days to determine whether or not to pursue legal prices in opposition to Mr. Bolsonaro and the others named within the report. Brazil’s decrease home in Congress would additionally should approve prices in opposition to Mr. Bolsonaro.
Political analysts, in addition to some senators on the panel, have mentioned that they doubt that Mr. Bolsonaro will finally face prices as a result of the lawyer normal and a majority of the decrease home assist the president.
The panel additionally voted to ask Brazil’s Supreme Courtroom to request that Mr. Bolsonaro be banned from social media for the “safety of the inhabitants.” The senators included that advice after the president advised throughout a weekly social media livestream on Thursday that the coronavirus vaccine might trigger AIDS. Fb and YouTube eliminated the video, and YouTube froze Mr. Bolsonaro’s channel for every week.
The vote concludes an investigation that had led the nightly information in Brazil for a lot of the summer time. The panel held greater than 50 hearings, which generally included surprising testimony. At one level, a lawmaker wore a bulletproof vest to testify that some vaccine purchases included kickbacks.
“What number of presidents of the Republic, with out having been in wars, have been accused of crimes in opposition to humanity?” requested Senator Randolfe Rodrigues, the panel’s vp. “There are causes, motives and statements like those we witnessed — which left us in absolute shock, all of us Brazilians — that led to this indictment request.”
Senator Eduardo Girão, one of many 4 senators who voted in opposition to the report, mentioned that he believed Mr. Bolsonaro had acted wrongly, however that the report “grew to become an instrument of political persecution.”
After the vote, the panel held a second of silence for the greater than 600,000 Brazilians who’ve died within the pandemic. The room then broke into applause.