Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro checked into a Florida hospital with “abdominal pain” a day after his supporters stormed his country’s hall of government in a violent raid that evoked the riot at the US Capitol two years ago.
Bolsonaro had fled to the US two days before his term — and presidential prosecutorial immunity — expired as he repeated false claims of election fraud in his contest with President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
As thousands of his loyalists ransacked Brasília’s Three Powers Square featuring its Congress, Supreme Court and presidential palace, the former far-right strongman was at a suburban Orlando bolthole owned by former UFC fighter Jose Aldo, where he had been seeing hosting supporters, shopping at a Florida grocery store and eating at KFC.
His hospitalization, at AdventHealth Celebration in Kissimmee outside Walt Disney World, was reported by the Rio De Janeiro newspaper O Globo.
It was the latest medical emergency for Bolsonaro, who had recently been hospitalized multiple times for gut blockages after being stabbed on the campaign trail in 2018.
The development came as some House Democrats had called on the Biden administration to extradite the 67-year-old back to Brazil, where he is under investigation for at least four criminal probes, including lying about the election results, leaning on the federal police to protect his sons and harboring a disinformation troll campaign.
The inquiries against Bolsonaro — who has also been accused of embezzlement and mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic, which killed 695,000 Brazilians — are being lead by Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes.
Legal experts said it would be unlikely for Moraes to sign an arrest warrant for Bolsonaro while he was in self-imposed exile. The former leader’s visa status was unclear, and the US had not received an “official request” from Brazil to extradite him, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Monday, according to Bloomberg.
“One of the central motivations for Bolsonaro to stay in power was to protect himself and his children,” Brazilian constitutional lawyer Camilo Onoda Caldas said. “Since he is no longer president and is much more vulnerable, he must adopt a much more defensive posture.”
Some 1,200 people had been detained and 400 arrested in connection with Sunday’s violence, which Bolsonaro had tepidly denounced on Twitter, while denying any involvement.
With Post wires
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