On Wednesday, a Brazilian senate committee will urge that President Jair Bolsonaro be charged with “intentional” crimes over his management of the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to 600,000 of his compatriots dead.

After six months of eventual hearing, along with emotional witness statements and chilling revelations about the use of ineffective medications on “human guinea pigs”, the committee of inquiry will disclose its eagerly awaited report.

The centrist senator Renan Calheiros, the head author of the 1200 page report, has already unveiled that he has retained around nine charges against the far-right president, involving “quackery” and “crimes” against humanity”. Nevertheless, he mentioned a last-minute withdrawal of “homicide” and “genocide” charges, considering some infighting within the panel.

Reportedly, the report could also demand that several ministers be charged, including three of Bolsonaro’s sons, also Flavio who sits on the committee. Fernando Bezerra, head of the government’s parliamentary bloc in the senate remarked, “This report will seem like a sentence, but the government is calm. You can criticize the president’s attitude but cannot incriminate him.”

The inquiry does not possess the power to bring charges, but it’s exposes can have serious political impact. The report will be delivered to the public prosecutor, the federal court of accounts and can also be sent to the International Criminal Court in the Hague, where several other complaints against the President have already been filed.

With respect to the allegations, Bolsonaro’s popularity has declined to an all time low and trails leftist former leader Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in the coming general election polls scheduled to be held next year.

The report was planned to be put forward on Tuesday but was delayed by 24 hours, eliciting criticism from the Brazilian media, which began to leak details. After filing testimony from multiple ministers, top government officials and business and hospital managers, families of COVID victims too presented their statements to the committee on Monday.

Marcio Antonio Silva, who is a taxi driver and lost his 25-year-old son to the pandemic, voiced, “We deserve an apology from the highest authority of the state. It is not a question of politics; we are talking about lives.”

Antonio Carlos Costa, who is the president of Rio de Paz NGO noted, “What we have seen is the antithesis of what we expected from the president of the republic.” Costa added, “We have never seen him shed tears of compassion, nor express his condolences for the Brazilian people in mourning.”

On Monday, the government further heard the harrowing testimony of a nurse in Manaus who witnessed dozens of patients dying and had to take care of her sister’s four children after she died from the virus.

The committee also probed the government in connection to the crippling lack of oxygen in the northern city of Manaus during the worst situation of the pandemic together with the delays in buying vaccines. It also stressed the President’s anti-lockdown speeches and his original belittling of what is described as a “little flu”.

Reportedly, the senators found irregularities in the allocation of vaccines, something that developed strong suspicion of corruption. Another branch of investigation concentrated on the relationship between Brasilia and private health insurers blamed for promoting “early treatment” with medications namely hydroxychloroquine, that has been scientifically proven to be ineffective.

Moreover, one of the insurers, Prevent Senior, is accused of conducting such treatment on patients without their prior consent, and further to press doctors to prescribe it for “human guinea pigs”.

Omar Aziz who is the committee president asserted on Tuesday, “The committee report clearly aims to result in sanctioning those responsible, and there are a lot. We cannot allow ourselves to not punish them.”


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