Senate report calls for homicide charge on Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro COVID-19 errors

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A Senate probe in the mishandling of Brazil’s coronavirus pandemic has suggested that President Jair Bolsonaro should be charged with homicide.

The report has called Bolsonaro “principally responsible for the government’s errors committed during the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

Excerpts of the document that has 1078 pages were released by the Brazilian media and they point out at Bolsonaro’s ”deliberate and conscious” neglect and incompetence.

Also see | Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro and his ‘non-normal’ antics

Bolsonaro missed early chances to acquire COVID-19 vaccines which delayed the country’s inoculation process and claimed approximately 95,000 lives.

The document states that ”the mathematics of the situation was clear: the more infections, the more death. Without vaccines mortality would have been stratospheric, as it turned out to be.”

Criticising Bolsonaro’s ”reckless and unfounded belief in the theory of herd immunity by natural infection and the existence of a treatment,” the report says the president was aware of “a concrete risk of mass infection.”

Also read | COVID-positive Bolsonaro heads out to feed birds, ride motorbike

”With this behavior, the federal government, which had a legal duty to act, agreed with the death of Brazilians,” it added.

The report, prepared by opposition Senator Renan Calheiros, has been slammed by Bolsonaro was has called the probe as ”poltically motivated” and called it a ”joke.”

The draft of the report, in the congressional probe, will be presented before the Senate next week. 

The Senate commission can veto and alter the report.  The chances of Bolsonaro facing a trial are slim as for it the charges need to be brought by Brazil’s prosecutor general whom was appointed by Bolsonaro himself.

The report also alleges that Bolsonaro’s sons Senator Flavio, federal deputy Eduardo and city councilman Carlos spread misinformation that incentivised “non-compliance with sanitary measures to contain the pandemic” and charges should be filed against them as well. 

Public health experts had widely condemned Bolsonaro for frequently refusing to wear a mask, going on bike rides when he was tested positive and railing against lockdowns.

In total, the report recommends 13 criminal charges be brought against Bolsonaro including genocide against Brazil’s indigenous population for actions that left their communities vulnerable to the virus.

At over 600,000 people, Brazil has the second-highest death toll worldwide due to COVID-19, behind only the United States.

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