Brazil could probe Bolsonaro over COVID deaths

A senate investigation in Brazil recommended on Tuesday that President Jair Bolsonaro be charged with homicide for mishandling the COVID-19 health crisis.

The report was prepared by opposition Senator Renan Calheiros and said Bolsonaro's mistakes led to the death of thousands.

It recommended 13 criminal charges, including genocide against Brazil's indigenous population for leaving their communities vulnerable to the virus.

Meanwhile, the Brazilian president has dismissed the probe as politically motivated and did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

It's unlikely he'll face a trial for charges, as they'd have to be brought by Brazil's prosecutor general, a seat Bolsonaro appointed.

The nearly 1,200 page document alleges that Bolsonaro deliberately turned down early offers to purchase vaccines, which delayed Brazil's inoculation campaign and cost an estimated 95,000 lives.

The report also says Bolsonaro was guided by "an unfounded belief in the theory of herd immunity by natural infection and the existence of a treatment."

He has been widely criticized by public health experts for rallying against lockdowns, refusing to wear a mask in public, and declaring he has not yet been vaccinated.

Bolsonaro also pushed unproven remedies for the illness such as antimalarial hydroxychloroquine.

The draft report still needs to be voted on by the Senate and could be vetoed and altered.

The vote is scheduled to take place next week.

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