Probe ordered into Brazilian President Bolsonaro for ‘spreading false information’
Supreme Court decision in response to request from Senate investigative committee
Brazil's Supreme Court opened a probe Friday into remarks by President Jair Bolsonaro, who argued that coronavirus vaccines may raise the chance of contracting AIDS.
The decision by Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes came in response to a request from the Senate’s Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry (CPI) which approved in October the final report in which Bolsonaro was charged with nine crimes, including crimes against humanity.
CPI members approved the report in a 7-4 vote. The report was then submitted to Attorney General Augusto Aras, who was appointed by the president, and de Moraes, requesting the commencement of judicial proceedings against Bolsonaro.
Concerning crimes against humanity, accountability would depend on the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague.
Eighty people are indicted in the report, including Bolsonaro's sons, ministers and a former health minister.
According to the report, Bolsonaro repeatedly encouraged Brazilians to not follow social distancing rules, opposed the use of masks and caused crowds.
The report also requested the indefinite suspension of social media accounts that Bolsonaro was accused of using to spread false information.
Bolsonaro is charged with nine crimes, including epidemic resulting in death, infraction of preventive sanitary measure, charlatanism, incitement to crime, forgery of private documents, irregular employment of public funds, malfeasance, crimes against humanity, violation of social rights and incompatibility with the dignity, honor and decorum of the presidency, according to the report.
In October, Facebook and Instagram removed Bolsonaro's videos and YouTube suspended the president's account for one week because of his statements on the COVID-19 vaccine in live broadcasts from his social media accounts.
*Writing by Zehra Nur Duz.
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