Covid: Brazil senators vote to charge president Jair Bolsonaro over pandemic handling

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro reacts during the launching ceremony of the National Green Growth Program, at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil October 25, 2021. REUTERS/Adriano Machado
Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro reacts during the launching ceremony of the National Green Growth Program, at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil October 25, 2021. REUTERS/Adriano Machado

Jair Bolsonaro has previously described the committee has a 'joke', after they condemned his handling of the pandemic

Published

Brazil's senators have voted in favour of charing president Jair Bolsonaro over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, including with crimes against humanity.

The report, which is more than 1,3000 pages long, also alleges that 77 additional people and two companies committed crimes.

A draft report released last week had called for the Brazilian leader to be indicted for genocide and murder, but senators decided to drop those charges, due to what lawmakers described as technical reasons.

Bolsonaro had previously described the Senate investigation as a "joke" and maintained he's always had the best interests of the Brazilian people at heart, but his press office did not immediately comment on the report following its publication.

The final report of the commission is seen on the table before a meeting of the Parliamentary Inquiry Committee (CPI) to investigate government actions and management during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic at the Federal Senate in Brasilia, Brazil, October 20, 2021. REUTERS/Adriano Machado
The final report of the commission is seen on the table before a meeting of the Parliamentary Inquiry Committee (CPI) to investigate government actions and management during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic at the Federal Senate in Brasilia, Brazil, October 20, 2021. REUTERS/Adriano Machado

"The chaos of Jair Bolsonaro's government will enter history as the lowest level of human destitution," said Senator Renan Calheiros, rapporteur of the report, adding that the president was "on the side" of dictators, including Adolf Hitler and Augusto Pinochet.

Among the people added was Wilson Lima, the governor of interior Amazonas state, where a lack of hospital oxygen supplies resulted in deaths by asphyxia.

His government is currently under federal investigation for alleged corruption related to the purchase of medical equipment. Lima dismissed the inclusion of his name as political posturing.

FILE PHOTO: Demonstrators hold crosses during a protest to pay tribute to Brazil's 600,000 COVID-19 deaths and against Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro's handling of the coronavirus disease pandemic, in Brasilia, Brazil, October 8, 2021. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Demonstrators hold crosses during a protest to pay tribute to Brazil's 600,000 COVID-19 deaths and against Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro's handling of the coronavirus disease pandemic, in Brasilia, Brazil, October 8, 2021. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino/File Photo

"Putting my name in the final report has a motivation that is totally political and electoral," Lima said in a statement provided by his press office.

"I wasn't even investigated by the committee." It is unlikely Bolsonaro will face any formal charges, as they would have to be brought by Brazil's prosecutor-general, whom the president appointed.

The president has previously dismissed the Senate investigation as a "joke."

Despite this, Bolsonaro's popularity has been dented by the Covid-19 pandemic heading into an election year. Brazil has suffered 600,000 coronavirus deaths, second only to the United States.