Brazil Investigates Bolsonaro's Embassy Sleepover

'NYT' reports last month's stay at Hungarian embassy was 'apparent bid for asylum'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 26, 2024 8:49 AM CDT
After Aides' Arrests, Bolsonaro Holed Up in Hungarian Embassy
Brazil's former President Jair Bolsonaro prepares to speak to the press in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, June 30, 2023.   (AP Photo/Thomas Santos, File)

Days after Brazilian police raided the homes of Jair Bolsonaro's top allies last month, the former president turned up at the Hungarian embassy in Brasilia, where Brazilian police have no authority. Bolsonaro, whose passport had been seized by authorities, stayed two nights at the embassy, from Feb. 12 to Feb. 14, according to surveillance video obtained by the New York Times, which describes the event as "an apparent bid for asylum." Bolsonaro is the target of several criminal investigations in Brazil. Last week, police accused him of tampering with the health ministry's database to falsify his COVID-19 vaccination data. He's also being investigated for alleged efforts to overthrow the results of the 2022 presidential election, which he lost.

Brazil's Federal Police is now investigating the sleepover, too, per the AP. Brazil's Foreign Ministry summoned the Hungarian ambassador for an explanation Monday, but Miklós Halmai reportedly "remained silent," per the Guardian. Asked about the footage himself, Bolsonaro didn't deny he was at the embassy. "I have a circle of friends with some heads of state around the world. They are worried," he said, per the Guardian. "I talk to them about matters in our country's interest," he added. "The rest is speculation." Earlier this month, Bolonaro told a crowd he was "not afraid" of being arrested. After spending months in the US, "I decided to come back here at all costs," he said. However, many onlookers view this as an attempt to evade justice.

Bolsonaro was forced to surrender his passport on Feb. 8 as part of an investigation into an alleged coup. Two of his aides were arrested. That same day, far-right Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, a leader Bolsonaro once described as a "brother," offered words of support. "An honest patriot," Orbán wrote on X alongside a photo of the two shaking hands. "Keep on fighting, Mr. President!" Four days later, Bolsonaro arrived at the Hungarian embassy with two security guards, was met by Halmai, and taken to residential apartments, per the Times. There were then only a handful of Hungarian diplomats on site as local staff were given time off for Carnival. They were to return to work Feb. 14, but were told that day to stay home for the rest of the week, per the Times. (More Jair Bolsonaro stories.)

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