Brazil’s former President Jair Bolsanaro has surrendered his passport to the police in the wake of ongoing investigations into the storming of the Congress by his supporters in January last year. Police say he led a failed bid to remain in power after losing the election to his left-wing rival and current President Lula da Silva.
Bolsonaro claims the charges are politically motivated, pointing out that he was in the US when the attack happened.
“I left the government more than a year ago and I continue to suffer relentless persecution,” he was quoted by a local newspaper. “Forget about me. There is already someone else running the country.”
But the head of his Liberal Party has been detained and three of his allies arrested on suspicion that they plotted to keep him in power despite losing the election.
Police say by spreading doubts about the election system, they incited his supporters who believed the poll had been stolen. This set the stage for a military coup but when the armed forces refused to intervene, his frustrated supporters stormed the Congress building which houses the Supreme Court and presidential palace.
The investigations so far have focused on a criminal organisation that was involved in the coup conspiracy. Over 1000 people have been charged for their role in the attack on the Congress building although only a few dozen have been convicted.
Bolsonaro was banned from contesting elections for eight years last June for casting doubts about the electronic voting system.