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Brazil’s ex-president Jair Bolsonaro targeted in probe on ‘coup attempt’

Brazilian former President, Jair Bolsonaro.
| Photo Credit: AFP

Brazilian police launched dozens of raids on Thursday targeting ex-President Jair Bolsonaro, who was ordered to surrender his passport, and his inner circle over allegations of orchestrating an invasion of the seat of power last year.

Federal police said they were carrying out 33 search and seizure operations and executing four arrest warrants in an investigation of a “criminal organisation involved in the attempted coup” — a reference to Mr. Bolsonaro supporters’ invasion of the presidential palace, Congress and Supreme Court on January 8, 2023.

The raids were authorised by Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes, who also ordered that multiple suspects be suspended from public duties and surrender their passports within 24 hours.

That included Mr. Bolsonaro, whose lawyer and adviser Fabio Wajngarten confirmed in a statement on X, that the far-right ex-Army captain would comply with the order.

Mr. Bolsonaro called himself the victim of “relentless persecution.” The former President, who was in the United States at the time of the riots, has repeatedly denied responsibility.

Three people have been arrested so far in the operation, according to Brazilian media reports — two Army officers and a former international affairs adviser to Bolsonaro, Filipe Martins.

The riots came a week after President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s inauguration following a narrow election win in October 2022 over Mr. Bolsonaro, who served as President from 2019 to 2022.

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