Brazil seeks right-wing rioters who fled to Milei's Argentina
Brazil seeks right-wing rioters who fled to Milei's Argentina
Brazil seeks right-wing rioters who fled to Milei's Argentina
by DZRH News14 June 2024
FILE PHOTO: Members of the Federal Police work at the Supreme Court building following protests by supporters of Brazil's former President Jair Bolsonaro against President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, in Brasilia, Brazil, January 9, 2023. REUTERS/Amanda Perobelli/File Photo

By Ricardo Brito and Lisandra Paraguassu

BRASILIA (Reuters) -Brazil has asked Argentina for information about dozens of supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro seeking refuge in the neighboring country to avoid legal consequences for storming Brasilia last year as part of an alleged coup attempt.

Brazilian police officials said the request lodged on Monday was a precursor to possible extradition requests.

On Jan. 8, 2023, a week after leftist President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva took office, thousands of demonstrators stormed Congress, the Supreme Court and the presidential palace in a rampage that some expected would create chaos justifying a military coup to overturn Lula's election.


Federal police officials told Reuters they believe between 50 and 100 Bolsonaro supporters charged with vandalism and insurrection had fled to Argentina after right-winger Javier Milei took office in December.

Most of the fugitives were tried and convicted by the Supreme Court and face harsh sentences, including up to 17 years in prison for plotting a coup d'etat, said a senior police officer involved in the investigation.

Brazil has asked Argentine police to identify their whereabouts and status in the country before deciding to request extraditions, said the police officials. The fugitives had court-ordered restrictions on movement and some wore electronic ankle tags.

"Police cooperation will determine how many they are. Based on the information we have so far, we estimate between 50 and 100 of them are in Argentina," Federal Police Director General Andrei Rodrigues told reporters on Tuesday.


Brazil's federal police began investigating the case after right-wing lawmakers, including Bolsonaro's son Eduardo, visited Buenos Aires last month and publicly called on the Argentine government to treat the fugitives as "political exiles."

Bolsonaro's former vice president, Senator Hamilton Mourao, said on social media that they left for Argentina because they did not believe they would get a fair trial in Brazil.

Brazilian police said they believed most of the missing Bolsonaro supporters have requested political asylum.

Argentina's National Commission for Refugees said it does not comment on asylum requests.


Political analyst Andre Cesar said the group of Bolsonaro supporters who found an easy escape to neighboring Argentina may be betting on the change in political climate under Milei to get asylum.

"Given the initial distancing between the governments of Milei and Lula, I would not be surprised that Milei will at the very least place obstacles to extraditing them," said Cesar, partner at Hold Legislative Advisors, a public policy consultancy.

(Reporting by Lisandra Paraguassu and Ricardo Brito in Brasilia, Nicolas Misculin in Buenos Aires; Writing by Anthony Boadle; Editing by David Gregorio and Aurora Ellis)

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