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Police seize Bolsonaro’s passport, arrest top aides over alleged coup

​Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro attends an Air Force ceremony in Brasilia, Brazil January 4, 2019.

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro attends an Air Force ceremony in Brasilia, Brazil January 4, 2019.

REUTERS/Adriano Machado
Brazilian authorities on Thursday named former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro a target of their inquiry into an alleged coup to keep him in power following his 2022 election loss. Four people were arrested, and 33 search warrants were executed in Thursday’s operation, and the former president was ordered to surrender his passport.

According to a 134-page court document, Bolsonaro allegedly coordinated with top officials to cook up legal rationale for new elections, enlist military support for a coup, carry out surveillance on judges, and encourage protesters who wound up storming the government complex in Brasilia on Jan. 8, 2023.

Bolsonaro is alleged to have personally edited a draft decree to overturn the results of the election and arrest two supreme court justices and the leader of the Senate, and then to have summoned military commanders to pressure them into backing a coup.

What comes next? Investigators must decide whether to charge Bolsonaro, who is already ineligible to hold office until 2030, thanks to another case. He also faces additional criminal probes that could land him in jail, but he seemed deflated in reaction to the latest troubles, telling Folha de São Paolo, “Forget me, you have another person governing the country now.”

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