Brazil’s Former President Has Passport Seized Amid Coup Probe

Brazilian police on February 8 accused former President Jair Bolsonaro of creating a draft decree overturning the election results, plotting to jail a Supreme Court justice, and pressuring the military to join a coup attempt, Reuters reported.

To prevent the former president from fleeing the country, police also confiscated his passport.

The allegations stem from an investigation into Bolsonaro and his closest advisors over an alleged plot to launch a military coup following his 2022 election loss to President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

During the February 8 sweep, police also served search warrants on four former government ministers and arrested four of Bolsonaro’s former aides.

According to one federal police official involved in the raids, the evidence against the former president was strong.

Police arrived at Bolsonaro’s beach house in Rio de Janeiro state early on the morning of February 8 and demanded that the former president turn over his passport. The police official told Reuters that seizing Bolsonaro’s passport would mitigate the flight risk without “creating as much noise.”

In the decision by Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes that prompted the February 8 raid, the justice said the former president received a draft decree prepared by aides in November 2022 that would overturn the election results. The decree also would have issued warrants to arrest Justice Moraes, along with Supreme Court Justice Gilmar Mendes and the leader of the Brazilian Senate Rodrigo Pacheco.

Bolsonaro requested edits to the draft that removed the arrest warrants for Mendes and Pacheco but kept the warrant for Moraes and the order for new elections. He then allegedly summoned military chiefs and pressed them to support a coup.

The former president has already been barred from running for office until 2030 over spreading falsehoods about the 2022 election and is facing several separate criminal investigations that could put him in prison.

Bolsonaro has described the investigations as politically motivated and denied any wrongdoing.