bolsonaro: Brazil president should face homicide charges for mishandling Covid

bolsonaro: Brazil president should face homicide charges for mishandling Covid

BRASILIA: A Brazilian congressional panel is set to recommend mass homicide charges against President Jair Bolsonaro, asserting that he intentionally let the coronavirus rip through the country and kill hundreds of thousands in a failed bid to achieve herd immunity and revive Latin America’s largest economy. A report from a congressional investigation, excerpts from which were viewed by New York Times ahead of its scheduled release this week, also recommends criminal charges against 69 other people, including three of Bolsonaro’s sons and government officials.
The extraordinary accusations appear in a nearly 1,200-page report that effectively blames Bolsonaro’s policies for the deaths of more than 3,00,000 Brazilians, half of the nation’s coronavirus death toll, and urges the authorities to imprison the president, according to the excerpts from the report and interviews with two of the committee’s senators. “Many of these deaths were preventable,” said Renan Calheiros, the centrist Brazilian senator who was the lead author of the report. “I am personally convinced that he is responsible for escalating the slaughter.”
It is unclear at best whether the report will lead to criminal charges. But it may prove a major escalation in the political challenges confronting Bolsonaro. He faces reelection next year and is suffering falling popularity.
From the outset of the pandemic, Bolsonaro has gone out of his way to minimise the threat of the virus. As countries around the world locked down, and his own people began filling hospitals, he encouraged mass gatherings and discouraged masks. An avowed vaccine sceptic, he lashed out at any who dared criticise him as irresponsible. Those actions, the report argued, amounted to mass homicide. Bolsonaro’s office did not respond to requests for comment, but the president has called the probe politically motivated. The report’s findings culminate a six-month probe by a special Covid-19 Senate committee that held over 50 hearings.

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