Justice tightened the siege against the president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, and included him in an investigation on “anti-democratic digital” groups, which sow distrust in institutions through the internet.
The Superior Federal Court (STF) ordered this Wednesday to investigate the far-right president for the crimes of “slander“e”incitement to crime“, in relation to his untested questions about the electronic voting system in Brazil.
The decision to investigate the president in that process, which began in 2019, was adopted by Judge Alexandre de Moraes, one of the members of the Supreme Court, who thus responded to a request from the TSE.
The request, sent last Monday, is based on a harsh and continuous campaign of discredit launched by the president against the electronic ballot boxes used in the elections that have been held in Brazil since 1996.
After several weeks of almost daily attacks against the voting system – the president even slipped the possibility of suspending the presidential elections of 2022 – the TSE also decided on Monday to initiate an “administrative” process against Bolsonaro for this permanent disqualification of an electoral system. that, in the last two decades, it was not the subject of a single fraud complaint.
Complaints without evidence
However, the president maintains that electronic voting is not reliable, proposed that voting on ballots be resumed together with the current system and even insinuated that the president of the TSE, Luis Barroso, also a member of the Supreme Court, is preparing a “fraud.” for next year’s elections.
Supporters of President Jair Bolsonaro demonstrated last Sunday in São Paulo in support of his complaints against electronic voting. Photo: AFP
Judge Alexandre de Moraes cited among the causes of the complaint the live broadcast of the president on Facebook last Thursday, when he affirmed, among other things, without evidence, that there was fraud in the last two presidential elections and that he should have won in the first round in 2018.
“From false information, repeatedly repeated by means of social networks and the like, a narrative is formulated that delegitimizes democratic institutions and encourages groups of sympathizers to attack people who represent the institutions,” De Moraes wrote.
Three of the eleven STF judges, including De Moraeas, are also TSE judges.
Challenge to Justice
On Tuesday, Bolsonaro harshly confronted the Justice: “I will not accept intimidation. I will continue to exercise my right to free expression, to criticize, listen and attend, above all, to the popular will,” he declared before a group of followers in the gates of the Palacio da Alvorada, his official residence in Brasilia.
The president of Brazil announced that he will call for new marches to request the printed vote for the 2022 elections. Photo: AFP
The intensification of Bolsonaro’s offensive against the electoral system coincides with a erosion of its popularity and with the publication of polls that predict his defeat against the former left-wing president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
Bolsonaro does not ask that the ballot papers be returned, but that a receipt be printed after each vote in the electronic ballot box, so that they can be physically counted.
Thousands of people demonstrated last Sunday in several cities in Brazil to support that claim and Bolsonaro said on Tuesday that he could participate in a new demonstration.
This same Wednesday, in apparent response to the president, Judge Barroso warned, without citing Bolsonaro, about the “erosion of democracy” and the existence “in Brazil and the world” of populist and extremist leaders who use social networks to pave the way for authoritarianism. “
“Right-wing digital militias”
The investigation of Judge De Moraes began focused on the so-called “fake news” on social networks, allegedly spread by parliamentarians and activists from the far-right base that supports the government.
The former president of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, appears as a favorite in the polls for the 2022 elections. Photo: AFP
It was suspended two months ago at the request of the attorney general, Augusto Aras, a man absolutely aligned with Bolsonaro and who said he had not found any evidence of the existence of a coordinated action by Bolsonarism to spread false information.
However, De Moraes immediately picked it up, now focused on the production and financing of false content circulating on social networks and attacks institutions.
According to the magistrate, the matter could reveal “the existence of a criminal organization, with a strong digital activity and with nuclei of production and publication” of false information with “hate speech.”
In that process, De Moraes decided to include Bolsonaro, in order, as he explained, “to determine if, unlawfully, he contributed to the dissemination of fraudulent news about the conduct of members of the Supreme Court and against the voting system in Brazil.”
He also asked that they be questioned the Minister of Justice, Anderson Torres, and four other people aligned with Bolsonarism and who also joined the campaign against electronic voting.
In the same process, some parliamentarians are already being investigated, such as Deputy Eduardo Bolsonaro, son of the president, and Deputy Bia Kicis, who chairs the Constitution and Justice Commission of the Lower House.
Also on the list is the far-right deputy Daniel Silveira, in prison since last February, after he released a video with serious threats and insults of all kinds against the Supreme Court magistrates, whom he asked to dismiss in full.
Silveira also criticized the constitutional order and praised the last military dictatorship (1964-1985), as well as the military regime’s persecution of the left and “communism,” and suggested its support for the assassination of opponents of the Bolsonaro government.