Bolsonaro's army, police pardon overturned by Supreme Court: Brazil
Brazil's Supreme Court temporarily suspends the pardon of the police officers who perpetrated the 1992 prison massacre.
Rosa Weber, president of the Brazilian Supreme Court, has suspended the former President's decree pardon of 74 police officers convicted for the Carandiru massacre in 1992. This suspension came in response to a lawsuit of unconstitutionality filed by the attorney general in late December under the pretext of violating Brazil's international obligations to prosecute those responsible for crimes against humanity.
Carandiru: Bloodiest in Brazil prison history
On October 2, 1992, after a group of rival inmates clashed, military police took over and ended up shooting 111 inmates in about 30 minutes. Some were shot with multiple bullets and some had dogs released on them. Ballistic evidence found that a total of 515 bullets were found in the bodies.
Lawyers of the officers claimed that they had shot in self-defense, knowing that no police officer on guard was killed or injured.
Carandiru prison was closed and demolished in 2002. Not until 2012 were 74 police officers convicted of massacring the 111 prisoners. Of the convicts, five have already died – one of them murdered – and another 69 are still alive.
More than 30 years after the massacre, none of them was imprisoned because of the maneuvering of their defense attorneys who have appealed each of the sentences repeatedly. In 2022, Bolsonaro decreed a pardon for the convicted police officers using his leftover power nine days before he left office after suffering a humiliating defeat by leftist Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva back in October.
Read more: Shortly before leaving, Bolsonaro gives way out to convicted officers
Bolsonaro's defeat and consequent unrest
In response to his defeat, Bolsonaro's supporters not only blocked main roads but also set up protests in front of military barracks in an attempt to influence the military into preventing Lula from taking office on January 1, which is when Bolsonaro would step down. The unrest peaked on January 8 when Bolsonaro's supporters stormed the Congress.
Supporters of former #Brazilian President #Bolsonaro, whom #Lula called 'neo-Fascists', took over government buildings in #Brasilia after Bolsonaro's baseless claims of fraud in the presidential elections, in what seems to be a repeat of the #Jan6 Capitol riots in 2021. pic.twitter.com/VX9qviJ9Cn— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) January 9, 2023
Silva said the rioters likely had inside help, thus ordering a "thorough review" of presidential palace staff after the violent riots, which saw supporters of his far-right predecessor President storm the presidential palace, Congress, and Supreme Court and cause widespread damage.
"I am convinced that the door of the Planalto (presidential) palace was opened for people to enter because there are no broken doors," the President said in Brasilia. "This means that someone facilitated their entry," he added.
Read more: Brasilia rioters likely had inside help: Lula
Lula's decisive measures
On January 8, Lula ordered federal security to intervene in Brasilia and restore calm following the riots. Lula said the "fascists, fanatics" rioters will be punished "with the full force of law."
Read more: Brazil's Lula: 'Fascists' will be punished with 'full force of law'
Last week, Lula said any "radical bolsonarista" caught still working for the government would be dealt with decisively. On January 17, Lula dismissed 40 guards found to be Bolsonaro supporters.