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Thursday, January 20, 2022

Brazilian senators abandon call for homicide charges against President Bolsonaro


The accusations first appeared in a nearly 1,200-page draft report leaked to CNN by a representative of the Brazilian Senate Pandemic Parliamentary Inquiry (CPI).

The draft report effectively blames Bolsonaro’s policies for the deaths of more than 300,000 Brazilians — half of the nation’s Covid-19 death toll, which is the highest in the world after the United States.

Late on Tuesday at the end of a meeting, CPI president Sen. Omar Aziz said the allegations of genocide against Brazilian Indigenous communities were to be dropped from the text, due to a lack of consensus.

“What we agreed upon is the issue of genocide, which was withdrawn. I think it’s for the better. (Report author) Sen. Renan Calheiros heard arguments from everybody, it was very clear,” Aziz told reporters.

CPI vice president Sen. Randolfe Rodrigues said the recommendation for “mass murder” charges would also be dropped and replaced with charges of “epidemic that resulted in death,” CNN Brasil reported.

Bolsonaro will still have to answer allegations of crimes against humanity, incitement to commit crimes, and “charlatanism” over his handling of the pandemic.

The final document is expected to be officially presented in the Brazilian Senate on Wednesday and voted on next week.

Bolsonaro’s office did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment. The President, who is up for reelection next year, has previously criticized the investigation into his pandemic handling as politically motivated.

In July, Bolsonaro accused the CPI of ignoring other allegations of corruption across Brazil to focus on him and his government.

“They want to accuse me of genocide. Now, tell me in what country people have not died? This CPI has no credibility,” Bolsonaro said.

He also said then that he was “sorry about the dead, but people who were healthy had little chance of dying.”

Bolsonaro has long downplayed the gravity of the virus, and argued for the need to prioritize Brazil’s economic health. He tested positive for Covid-19 in 2020.

Reporting contributed by CNN’s Rodrigo Pedroso and Shasta Darlington in Sao Paulo, and Samantha Beech in Atlanta.



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