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Brazilian lawmakers abruptly withdrew a plan to charge Bolsonaro with mass homicide and genocide over COVID-19 deaths

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jair Bolsonaro giving a speech
President Jair Bolsonaro gestures as he delivers a speech in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on September 01, 2021. MAURO PIMENTEL/AFP via Getty Images
  • Brazil is probing whether Jair Bolsonaro is responsible for 300,000 COVID-19 deaths in the country.

  • A Senate inquiry was reportedly ready to recommend that he be charged with homicide and genocide, the NYT said Tuesday.

  • The Senate scrapped the recommendations soon after the news was leaked, CNN Brasil said.

Lawmakers in Brazil have suddenly scrapped a plan recommending that President Jair Bolsonaro be charged with genocide and mass homicide, according to CNN Brasil.

For the past six months, the Brazilian Senate Pandemic Parliamentary Inquiry has been investigating whether Bolsonaro is responsible for the deaths of more than 300,000 Brazilians who have died from COVID-19.

In total, around 600,000 Brazilians have died from the disease during the pandemic.

Throughout the pandemic, Bolsonaro has repeatedly played down the dangers posed by the coronavirus, mocked masks, and cast doubt over the vaccine. He has also been criticized for his decision not to enforce lockdowns when the virus surged.

Citing a leaked copy of the senate report, the New York Times reported Tuesday that the inquiry was set to recommend that Bolsonaro be charged with mass homicide and genocide.

However, late on Tuesday, Sen. Omar Aziz, the president of the COVID-19 parliamentary commission of inquiry, said the group would drop the recommended genocide charge because there was no clear consensus between lawmakers, CNN Brasil reported.

"I think it's for the better." Aziz said, per CNN Brasil.

Shortly after, Sen. Randolfe Rodrigues, another senior member of the inquiry, said that the "mass murder" charge was also being scrapped, CNN Brasil reported.

Rodrigues added that it would be replaced with the less-severe recommended charge of "epidemic that resulted in death."

The inquiry's final report was scheduled to be presented in the Senate on Wednesday, and then put to a vote next week, CNN Brasil said.

Bolsonaro in March told Brazilians to "stop whining" about COVID-19 deaths and, in April, denied his actions amounted to being "genocidal"

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