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Brazil probes Jair Bolsonaro's stay at Hungarian embassy

March 26, 2024

Former Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro faces multiple criminal investigations and had his passport confiscated last month. Police would not have been able to arrest him while he was staying at a foreign embassy.

Hungarian embassy in Brasilia, Brazil
Brazilian police are investigating former president Jair Bolsonaro's two-night stay at the Hungarian embassy in mid-FebruaryImage: EVARISTO SA/AFP

Brazilian police on Monday launched an investigation into former President Jair Bolsonaro's two-night stay at the Hungarian embassy in Brasilia.

The far-right politician faces multiple criminal investigations. Brazilian police would not have been able to arrest him while he was staying at a foreign embassy.

Bolsonaro has good relations with Hungary's Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, who leads the right-wing nationalist Fidesz party. Bolsonaro called Orban his "brother" during a 2022 visit to Hungary.

What do we know about the investigation?

The probe comes after a report from The New York Times showed security footage from within the Hungarian embassy in Brasilia, which showed parts of Bolsonaro's stay from February 12-14.

The visit took place just days after Brazil's Federal Police seized Bolsonaro's Brazilian passport as part of investigations into whether he planned to overturn the 2022 election results and stay in power.

Two top Bolsonaro aides were arrested and their houses were raided by police as part of investigations.

Bolsonaro's lawyers said in a statement that the former president entered the Hungarian embassy to discuss politics, not to avoid arrest.

"In the days he was at the Hungarian embassy, by invitation, the former Brazilian president spoke to countless authorities from the friendly country for updates on the political scenarios of both nations," Bolsonaro's lawyers said.

"Any other interpretations... constitute an evidently fictional work, with no connection to the reality of the facts."

Brazil's Foreign Ministry said it had summoned Hungary's ambassador, Miklos Halmai, to explain why Bolsonaro stayed at the embassy.

Bolsonaro faces legal troubles

Last year, a Brazilian court ruled that Bolsonaro is ineligible for political office until 2030 for spreading misinformation during the 2022 election, when he was defeated by current President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

On March 19, Brazil's Federal Police accused Bolsonaro of committing fraud on his vaccination records.

Two weeks ago, the former heads of Brazil's army and air force said that Bolsonaro had discussed with them a draft decree to prevent the handover of power to Lula after the 2022 vote.

sdi/jsi (AP, AFP, Reuters, EFE)