The Brazilian Congress commission that investigated the attempt on January 8 approved, by majority, this Wednesday its final report in which it accuses former president Jair Bolsonaro of being the “intellectual mentor” of a coup plot to overthrow President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
The report, the result of five months of work, also proposes charging another 60 people, including five former ministers of Bolsonaro’s Government (2019-2022), former commanders of the Navy and the Army, around twenty military personnel and a federal deputy, named also of coup.
The document, supported by 20 votes against 11 against and 1 abstention, will now be sent to the Prosecutor’s Office, which is already investigating the riot through criminal channels and will now decide whether to sequence the commission’s investigations and present charges before the courts.
The commission was established to clarify the violent episode of January 8, when thousands of Bolsonaro supporters invaded and destroyed the headquarters of the Presidency, Parliament and the Supreme Court, in Brasilia, to encourage a military coup against Lula, who had taken office. One week before.
These events are already the subject of various investigations in the Supreme Court that try to clarify whether the far-right leader encouraged the attempt and if he participated in the anti-democratic conspiracy.
For the assault on Brasilia, the highest court has already convicted a dozen people among the almost 1,400 defendants. Bolsonaro, for the moment, appears only as under investigation.
Bolsonaro’s “direct responsibility”
The commission’s report, prepared by Senator Eliziane Gama, defends, however, that the assault on Brasilia was the culmination of an attempted coup orchestrated months before and that had the retired Army captain as its centerpiece.
To justify his thesis, he reconstructed, over 1,100 pages and supported by the testimony of witnesses who appeared at the commission, the tense months that preceded January 8.
The document recounts the road blockades carried out by truck drivers, the camps in front of Army barracks to demand military intervention, frustrated attacks in Brasilia and alleged discussions within the Government to prevent Lula’s inauguration, materialized in a draft “coup decree” “found by the police.
Everything led her to conclude that the January assault was just the corollary of a coup plot that began to take shape “before” Lula won the October 2022 elections and that gained strength “from that moment on.”
In this context, the approved report accuses Bolsonaro of having “direct responsibility” and of being the “intellectual and moral mentor” of the coup attempt. For this reason, he asks that he be charged with the crimes of illicit association, political violence, violent abolition of the rule of law and coup d’état.
Gama highlighted this Wednesday “the historical importance” of the text because it “robustly” demonstrates the “attempt” that had to abolish the rule of law.
In her speech, the senator also asked the president of the National Congress, Rodrigo Pacheco, for police protection for her and her family in the face of the avalanche of “threats” she has received since leading the work of the commission.
While the parliamentarians debated, Bolsonaro appeared again before the Police to answer for one of the unfoldings of the police investigation into the coup plot that investigates an exchange of messages with allied businessmen.
The former president distanced himself from the suspicions raised and insisted to journalists that he is only “responsible for what he signed.”
The opposition heats up the vote
This Wednesday’s session lasted for seven hours and was marked by strong exchanges of statements between the official majority of the commission and the Bolsonaro opposition, which went so far as to describe its political adversaries as “scoundrels.”
Since the beginning of the commission, Bolsonarism has also sought to hold Lula’s Government responsible for “omissions” in the security area that “facilitated” the action of the vandals on January 8.
Failing to do so, they called the report “extremely partial”, a “great farce” and being an instrument to promote only a “medieval persecution”, as cited by deputies Rodrigo Valadares and Marcel van Hattem.
The ruling party, made up of forces from the left and center, denounced “the permanent erosion of democratic values” during the Bolsonaro Government, as highlighted by deputy Chico Alencar, from the Socialism and Freedom Party (PSOL).
Her colleague Fernanda Melchionna also condemned the “unacceptable machismo” of some far-right parliamentarians against the women of the commission and highlighted that the accusations against Bolsonaro are “a very important step in the search for Justice.”
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