Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro Indicted for Falsifying COVID-19 Vaccination Status

Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro Indicted for Falsifying COVID-19 Vaccination Status

Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has been formally accused of falsifying his COVID-19 vaccination status, marking the first indictment for the embattled far-right leader. The federal police indictment, released by the Supreme Court, alleges that Bolsonaro and 16 others inserted false information into a public health database to create the impression that he, his 12-year-old daughter, and several others in his circle had received the COVID-19 vaccine.

According to the police detective Fábio Alvarez Shor, who signed the indictment, Bolsonaro and his aides manipulated their vaccination records to obtain fraudulent certificates and deceive current health restrictions. The investigation revealed multiple instances of false insertions and the use of fraudulent documents between November 2021 and December 2022.

Bolsonaro’s aide-de-camp, Mauro Cid, reportedly informed investigators that the former president instructed him to insert the false data into the system for both himself and his daughter. Cid also claimed to have personally delivered the vaccination certificates to Bolsonaro.

During the pandemic, Bolsonaro openly opposed the vaccine and disregarded health restrictions, encouraging others to follow suit. His administration rejected offers from Pfizer to purchase millions of vaccine doses in 2020 and criticized the procurement of vaccines from Chinese company Sinovac by Sao Paulo state’s governor.

The prosecutor-general’s office will decide whether to file charges against Bolsonaro at the Supreme Court. This case is one of several investigations targeting the former president, who governed from 2019 to 2022. Bolsonaro’s lawyer, Fábio Wajngarten, dismissed the indictment as “absurd” and claimed not to have access to it. Bolsonaro himself denied any wrongdoing during questioning in May 2023.

The indictment sheds light on a previous Senate committee inquiry that recommended nine criminal charges against Bolsonaro for mismanaging the pandemic. However, the former prosecutor-general declined to pursue the case. Reports suggest that Bolsonaro’s successor, Paulo Gonet, is considering filing charges after meeting with lawmakers.

If convicted of falsifying health data, Bolsonaro could face a prison sentence of up to 12 years or as little as two years. Legal analyst Zilan Costa explained that the charge of criminal association carries a maximum jail time of four years. Costa emphasized the seriousness of the crime and the potential consequences for those found guilty.

Detective Shor is awaiting information from the U.S. Justice Department to determine whether Bolsonaro and his aides used the false vaccination certificates during their stay in the United States. If confirmed, additional charges could be brought against Bolsonaro.

Despite the indictment, Bolsonaro continues to enjoy strong support among his political base. Recent protests in Sao Paulo attracted an estimated 185,000 people who rallied against what they perceive as political persecution. However, political science professor Carlos Melo suggests that the indictment may lead to further convictions and potential arrest for Bolsonaro.

In addition to this case, Bolsonaro faces other investigations, including allegations of attempting to smuggle expensive diamond jewelry into Brazil and his alleged involvement in the January 2023 uprising in Brasilia. The indictment will be incorporated into the investigation of the uprising, overseen by Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes.

Author: CrimeDoor

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