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 September 16, 2023

Brazilian Supreme Court Imprisons January 8 Pro-Bolsonaro Rioters for 17 Years

Thursday, the Supreme Federal Tribunal (STF), the highest court in Brazil, sentenced two of the first defendants involved in the January 8 Brasilia riot to 17 years in prison on a variety of offenses.

The offenses included "attempted coup d'etat" and "attempted abolition of the democratic rule of law," as Breitbart News reported.

Aécio Lcio Costa Pereira, 51, was identified as a member of the tens of thousands of supporters of former conservative president Jair Bolsonaro who stormed the Brazilian Congress, STF headquarters, and office of the presidency in January, largely due to videos he posted to social media documenting the chaos in the capital.

“For those who didn’t believe it, we’re here,” he said in one of his social media videos, wearing a shirt reading “military intervention now.” “It will work. Don’t give up, get on the streets.”

Pereira was processed alongside two other defendants: Já Thiago de Assis Mathar, 43, and Matheus Lima de Carvalho Lázaro, 24.

Lima de Carvalho was sentenced to the same 17-year prison term as Pereira. Mathar was sentenced to 14 years in prison, which was less than the other defendants because he did not post online recordings or use social media to recruit more people to join the riot.

For property damage, the defendants were also ordered to pay a fine of 30 million reals ($6.15 million).

The convictions and sentences were the first of what is anticipated to be hundreds of criminal cases connected to the events of January 8, 2023.

On that day, thousands of Bolsonaro supporters from across the nation gathered in Brasilia to protest the election of current President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who had narrowly defeated Bolsonaro in October's presidential election.

Prior to the massive gathering in January, conservatives across the nation had repeatedly mounted peaceful protests against Lula's return to power; the socialist had governed from 2003 to 2010.

Lula's election was opposed by Bolsonaro supporters for a variety of reasons. Some claimed there was evidence of widespread electoral fraud that helped Lula defeat Bolsonaro, citing a November statement by the Brazilian Armed Forces that a "possible security risk" could have compromised the election results.

Others complained that Lula should never have been on the ballot, as he was convicted of corruption while in office in 2017; Lula allegedly purchased a luxury beachfront property with ill-gotten gains while in office.

Lula's innocence was never proven before the STF overturned his conviction in 2021, releasing him from prison and allowing him to run for president on a technicality.

Numerous demonstrators demanded a "military intervention" to remove President Lula, who was inaugurated on January 1, from office.

They insisted that they were not calling for a coup, but rather attempting to use a provision in the Brazilian Constitution that can be invoked to prevent the inauguration of a president “to curb a serious compromise of public order, to maintain national integrity, to repel a foreign invasion,” among other reasons.

Written By:
Charlotte Tyler

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