A pandemic investigation in Brazil will be recommended. Senator says Bolsonaro faces 11 criminal charges.

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The senator leading a Brazilian Senate investigation into the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic said on Friday that the final report, due next week, will recommend that President Jair Bolsonaro face 11 criminal charges, though it remains highly unlikely that he will face a trial on any such charges.

Renan Calheiros said during a radio interview that the investigation launched in April has collected evidence to show that Bolsonaro should be formally charged with genocide against the country’s indigenous population, malfeasance, irregular use of public funds, violation of sanitary measures, incitement to crime and forgery of private documents, among other crimes.

The far-right president, who himself was infected with the coronavirus in July 2020, has railed against lockdown measures, pushed unproven cures, sowed vaccine doubts and downplayed the severity of COVID-19.

The report is scheduled to be released by the Senate investigative panel next Tuesday. The panel’s members the following day are set to vote on approving the text before sending it on the attorney general’s office on Thursday to decide if Bolsonaro and others should be charged.

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The attorney general’s office can charge the president, but the Supreme Court, which will try him, must seek permission from the lower house before proceeding. According to experts, the lower house is extremely unlikely to approve such a request.

The president’s office did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

Bolsonaro’s approval ratings have dropped in public opinion polls as a result of his handling of the public health crisis. COVID-19 has killed over 600,000 people in Brazil, second only to the United States.

The report is also likely to recommend that some of Bolsonaro’s sons and his former Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello also be charged with crimes, Calheiros said. Calheiros did not identify which sons may face charges.


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