Ricardo Brito | Reuters
BRAZIL – Senator leading the investigation into Brazil’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has recommended that President Jair Bolsonar be indicted in 13 criminal cases, including murder, for decisions that allegedly helped spread the virus and resulted in more than 600,000 deaths, according to a draft report saw Reuters.
However, it remains highly unlikely that Bolsonaro will face trial on any such charges, which should be brought against the Brazilian presidential attorney general. Bolsonaro dismissed the investigation as politically motivated.
The draft investigation report, prepared by Senator Renan Calheiros, still needs a Senate vote and could be vetoed and amended. Voting is scheduled for next week.
The presidency did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Bolsonaro told his supporters earlier Tuesday that the investigation was a “joke” and said he was not worried about it.
Brazil has the second highest death toll from COVID-19, behind only the United States. Bolsonaro has been widely criticized by public health experts for opposing quarantine, often refusing to wear a mask in public, and claiming that he has not yet been vaccinated.
He also suggested unproven remedies for the disease, such as the antimalarial hydroxychloroquine.
The nearly 1,200-page document points to Bolsonara as “the primary responsibility for the government’s mistakes during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The report said Bolsonaro acted against the advice of his health ministry, supporting the use of unproven funds.
Other crimes highlighted in the report include genocide of the indigenous population of Brazil, malfeasance in office, irregular use of public funds, violation of sanitary measures, incitement to crime and forgery of private documents.
The Ministry of Health did not immediately respond to a request for comment.