Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro speaks to the media after declaring in Brasilia on April 26, 2023 – Copyright AFP/Juan Carlos Cisneros Archive
Marcelo SILVA DE SOUSA
Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro denied any involvement in anti-government riots by his supporters in January when he appeared before federal police on Wednesday.
The far-right leader is under investigation for his alleged role in authoring and instigating the riots that sought to overthrow his successor, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
Bolsonaro, who returned to Brazil at the end of March after spending three months in the US state of Florida, was interrogated for more than two hours at the federal police headquarters in Brasilia, but was left in a vehicle with tinted windows without speaking. with journalists.
Shortly after, Bolsonaro’s spokesman, Fabio Wajngarten, told the press that the former president had “repudiated all the unfortunate events that occurred in Brasilia” on the day of the riot.
One of the reasons the investigation was launched was because two days after the riots, Bolsonaro shared a video on social media of a prosecutor challenging the validity of Lula’s victory.
Bolsonaro’s lawyer, Paulo Bueno, said the president had been under the influence of medication and had just been admitted to hospital when he shared the video.
“The sharing was so accidental that he didn’t mention it afterwards and soon deleted it,” Bueno said after the hearing.
Lula, who previously led Brazil from 2003 to 2010, narrowly defeated Bolsonaro in a split-and-split election last October.
Thousands of Bolsonaro supporters stormed Congress, the Supreme Court and the presidential palace in Brasilia on January 8, a week after Lula took office.
In scenes reminiscent of the January 6, 2021 riots in Washington by supporters of former President Donald Trump, Bolsonaro’s political role model, they vandalized offices, smashed windows, vandalized works of art and called for the intervention of the military to overthrow to Lula.
Some 1,800 people have been detained.
– Numerous investigations –
Bolsonaro left Brazil for Florida on December 30, two days before the scheduled date for the delivery of the presidential sash to Lula.
On January 13, Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes opened an investigation into Bolsonaro’s alleged involvement in the January 8 riot, in which rioters easily breached a security cordon.
A parliamentary commission of inquiry will soon be established in Congress to clarify the events of January 8.
Former army captain Bolsonaro was previously interviewed by police on April 5 in connection with an allegation that he tried to illegally import millions of dollars in jewelry gifted by Saudi Arabia.
A source close to the former president told AFP that he denied the accusation.
Bolsonaro is the subject of at least 16 other investigations in which, if found guilty, he could be sentenced to prison or disqualified from politics.