Brazil senators to vote on urging charges for Bolsonaro
BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — A Brazilian Senate committee will vote Tuesday on a report recommending President Jair Bolsonaro face a series of criminal indictments for actions that allegedly added to the world's second-highest COVID-19 death toll.
The report is the culmination of the 11-member committee’s six-month investigation of the government's handling of the pandemic. It calls for Bolsonaro to face charges ranging from charlatanism and inciting crime to misuse of public funds and crimes against humanity, and so hold him responsible for many of Brazil’s more than 600,000 COVID-19 deaths.
If approved, the decision on whether to file charges would be up to Brazil’s prosecutor-general, a Bolsonaro appointee who is widely viewed as protecting the president. The allegation of crimes against humanity would need to be pursued by the International Criminal Court.
Regardless of whether the report leads to charges, it is expected to fuel criticism of the divisive president, whose approval ratings have slumped ahead of his 2022 reelection campaign — in large part because of Brazil’s outsize COVID-19 death toll. The investigation itself has for months provided a drumbeat of damaging allegations.
Since the start of the pandemic, Bolsonaro has sabotaged local leaders' restrictions on activity aimed at stopping the virus' spread, saying the economy needed to keep humming so the poor did not suffer worse hardship. He also has insistently touted an anti-malaria drug long after broad testing showed it isn't effective against COVID-19, assembled crowds without wearing masks and sowed doubt about vaccines.
Bolsonaro has defended himself by saying he was among the world's only leaders courageous enough to defy political correctness and global health recommendations, and that he hasn't...