Brazil Judge Orders Arrest of Top Security Officials

Fired security chief is currently in Florida
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 10, 2023 6:52 PM CST
Brazil Judge Orders Arrest of Top Security Officials
Supporters of Brazil's former President Jair Bolsonaro, storm the the National Congress building in Brasilia, Brazil, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023.   (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)

A judge on Brazil's Supreme Court has ordered the arrest of at least two top security officials in connection with what authorities are calling an attempted coup. Justice Alexandre de Moraes ordered the arrest of Anderson Torres, Brasilia's former security chief, reports Reuters. Torres was fired Sunday after thousands of supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro stormed government buildings in the capital, including Brazil's Congress and Supreme Court. Sources tell the Washington Post that the judge also ordered the arrest of Col. Fabio Augusto, commander of military police in the capital district. Officials say Torres and other security chiefs were responsible for "acts and omissions" that led to the riot, the BBC reports.

Deputy Justice Minister Ricardo Cappelli, now in charge of security in Brasilia, accused Torres of "sabotage" ahead of the Jan. 8 riot. "What was missing on Sunday was command and leadership by the security secretariat of the Federal District," he told CNN. Cappelli said Torres, who was justice minister under Bolsonaro, "took over the security secretariat" of the federal district" on Jan. 2, changed the entire command, and then left the country the day before the riot. Authorities believe Torres, like Bolsonaro, is currently in Orlando, Florida. Cappelli says the inauguration of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on Jan. 1, the day before Torres took over the district's security, was an "extremely successful security operation."

The president and Supreme Court judges accuse security forces of standing by as protesters invaded government buildings, hoping that the military would force Lula from power, the Post reports. Lula has vowed that security forces will be punished for "incompetence, bad faith, or malice" leading to the attack by Bolsonaro supporters who claimed there had been election fraud. (The US State Department says it has not received an extradition request for Bolsonaro.)

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