Brazil: Bolsonaro included in probe, ex-justice minister Torres arrested

Former minister's arrest came a day after investigation into insurrection was expanded to include Bolsonaro

Brazil’s former Justice Minister Anderson Torres, who was in charge of public security in Brasilia during the invasion of government buildings a week ago, was arrested in Brasilia today on suspicion of “omission” and “connivance”.

His detention came a day after Brazil’s public prosecutor announced that it had asked the supreme court to include former right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro in its investigation into “incitement to antidemocratic acts” after he published a video on January 10 questioning the integrity of October’s election results.

The Supreme Court agreed to the request. “Public figures who continue to cowardly conspire against democracy trying to establish a state of exception will be held accountable,” said  Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes.

Torres was arrested after returning to Brazil today. He had been on vacation in Florida, the same U.S. state Bolsonaro, his ex-boss, had traveled to after losing last year’s election. Demosthenes Torres, one of Torres’ lawyers, confirmed the arrest.

The ex-minister said on Thursday that evidence produced by police was taken out of context when his home was raided this week.

Moraes ordered Torres’ arrest on Tuesday. It was not immediately clear what the charges were, but Moraes cited alleged “omission” and “connivance” by Torres.

Protests on January 8 by Bolsonaro supporters culminated in the storming of government buildings in Brasilia.

The director general of the Federal Police, Andrei Rodrigues, said last week “the various omissions, allegedly intentional, carried out by those responsible for public safety in the Federal District contributed to the practice of terrorist acts.”

Brazilian police found a draft decree in the home of Torres on Thursday which they said appeared to be a proposal to interfere in the result of the October election that Bolsonaro lost to Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

According to Anderson Torres, the document was “leaked out of context” after being seized when he was not at his residence, and was probably part of a pile of papers for disposal.

“Everything would be taken to be shredded in due course,” the former minister said in a post on Twitter on Thursday.

Upon learning of Moraes’ detention order, Anderson Torres also said on Twitter on Tuesday that he would interrupt his holiday and return to Brazil to hand himself in.

Justice Minister Flavio Dino had given Torres until Monday to return, after which he said he would have started extradition procedures.



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