Brazil’s former president Jair Bolsonaro has surrendered his passport as part of a police investigation into the attempted coup on 8 January 2023, which sought to keep him in power, his lawyers have said.
In operations that also targeted key allies of the former far-right leader, federal police agents carried out 33 searches and four arrests across Brazil on Thursday morning.
They visited Bolsonaro’s holiday home on the south coast of Rio de Janeiro, where he was given 24 hours to hand over his passport and was banned from making contact with the other suspects. Soon afterwards, police seized the passport at the headquarters of Bolsonaro’s Liberal party in Brasília, one of his lawyers told GloboNews.
According to Brazil’s media, military officers and high-profile members of the previous administration are among the targets of the operation, including Bolsonaro’s running mate in the 2022 election, Gen Walter Braga Netto. The president of the Liberal party, Valdemar Costa Neto, was also targeted and the party’s headquarters in Brasília were raided.
The four suspects taken into police custody reportedly include former aides to Bolsonaro.
In a statement, federal police said the operation, which was authorised by the supreme court, was looking into “a criminal organisation that attempted a coup d’état and the abolition of the democratic state of law, to obtain advantages of a political nature by maintaining the then-president of the republic in power”.
According to the police, the group disseminated disinformation about fraud in the 2022 elections before the vote took place “as a way of making a military intervention viable and legitimate”.