AN ESCAPE ATTEMPT?

'It was an asylum attempt,' says the federal deputy who requests to the Supreme Court Bolsonaro's preventive arrest

Politicians filed lawsuits with the STF and the attorney general' office for Bolsonaro's stay at the Hungarian Embassy

Translated by: Ana Paula Rocha

Brasil de Fato | São Paulo |
The former president's situation became even more complicated after images were released of him at the Hungarian Embassy days after his passport was seized by Brazil’s Federal Police - Sergio Lima/AFP

Brazil’s Supreme Court (also known as STF) may analyze and decide if Jair Bolsonaro will be arrested for staying for two days in the Hungarian Embassy in Brasília, starting on February 12. The US newspaper The New York Times released info and images of him at the embassy. On Monday (25), federal deputies called on both the Attorney General's Office (PGR, in Portuguese) and the Supreme Court to arrest the former president.

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One of the lawsuits was filed by federal deputy Professor Luciene Cavalcante (Socialism and Freedom Party, São Paulo state). It is based on the fact that Bolsonaro’s passport was seized days earlier by the Federal Police, preventing him from leaving Brazil. He is under investigation for an alleged coup attempt. By staying at the embassy, the former president could not be arrested, since the place is considered foreign territory, meaning it is beyond the reach of national authorities.

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"Everyone was stunned by the news in the New York Times that the former president – who has been indicted in several cases and is serving a restraining order – had attempted asylum. As far as we're concerned, that's what happened. He did attempt to seek asylum and escape by secretly staying at the Hungarian Embassy. Because we understand that there is a violation of the precautionary measure, in addition to several judgments of criminal actions in the STF typifying Bolsonaro’s actions, we filed a motion with the Supreme Court asking for preventive detention," she argues.

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Congresswomen Fernanda Melchionna (Rio Grande do Sul state) and Sâmia Bomfim (São Paulo state), both also affiliated with the Socialism and Freedom Party, also sent a letter to the Supreme Court and the Federal Police asking for his arrest. Federal deputy Lindbergh Farias (Workers’ Party) sent a request to the Attorney General's Office.

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The decision on whether or not to arrest Brazil’s former president will be taken by Minister Alexandre de Moraes. The Supreme Court is the rapporteur of inquiries into various crimes, to which Bolsonaro responds. Moraes set a deadline of 48 hours, starting on Monday evening, for the former president to explain himself.

"Bolsonaro is guilty of several crimes. He came out of the January 8 Parliamentary Inquiry Commission indicted for several crimes. It shows that he was behind this articulation, elaborating on the coup attempt that culminated on January 8. Minister Moraes has already asked his defense to make a statement within 48 hours. I think there is jurisprudence in these situations when seeking asylum already constitutes an intention to flee [the country] so that he doesn't have to answer for the crimes he committed. But he could also be subject to other measures, such as an ankle monitor, which would also be very important to prevent a possible escape," Cavalcante suggests.

Jair Bolsonaro's defense claimed that the former president stayed for two days at the Hungarian Embassy "by invitation". At an event on Monday night in downtown São Paulo, Bolsonaro questioned whether it was a crime to sleep at the embassy, and spoke of persecution.

"Lies and fake news are the methods used by the far right to do politics. Obviously, they're going to say that it wasn't like that, that he was just there to talk. However, he had to hand over his passport. Then, secretly, he goes to the embassy, a territory within the Brazilian state, but which has the prerogatives of a government on the far right. Once there, he articulates. So, if he really had nothing to hide, he would have made this agenda public, which he didn't. We only found out about it because of the New York Times story. [The Hungarian Embassy] asked all its staff to leave the embassy. There is evidence proving the collusion that took place there. The ambassador's silence also shows that there is something to hide," says Cavalcante.

The full interview made by Luana Ibelli is available in Tuesday's edition of Central do Brasil. You can watch it on Brasil de Fato's YouTube channel.

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Central do Brasil is produced by Brasil de Fato. The show is broadcast live from Monday to Friday, always at 1 pm, on Rede TVT and partner stations.

Edited by: Nicolau Soares