Charges Filed Against Brazilian Lawmaker After Rape Remarks
December 17, 2014 By Staff
Top Story — Brazil’s attorney general filed charges of incitement to rape against Brazilian congressman Jair Bolsonaro after he made violent comments to a fellow lawmaker in Congress last Tuesday, saying, “I wouldn’t rape you. You’re not worth it.” It is the second time Bolsonaro, a right-wing representative from Rio de Janeiro state known for misogynist remarks, has used the word inappropriately in Congress.
Bolsonaro’s comments were directed at Maria do Rosário, a former secretary of human rights, as she praised a report that had highlighted human rights abuses, including sexual torture, by Brazil’s military dictatorship between 1964-1985. Bolsonaro is seen as a loyal supporter of the dictatorship.
It was not the first time Bolsonaro had acted threateningly towards Rosário. In 2003, in the parliamentary Green Room, Bolsonaro shoved Rosário, called her a “slut” and told her to “go cry” in an incident that was caught on camera.
Comments made during debates are normally protected by parliamentary immunity, and Bolsonaro was not charged for the 2003 incident, but this time the attorney general said Bolsonaro had also made similar comments in a magazine interview. A representative from Amnesty International in Brazil told The Associated Press that Bolsonaro had “crossed the line” and has continuously made problematic remarks regarding LGBT and sexual rights.
If convicted, Bolsonaro could face up to six months in jail plus a fine.
Skepticism remains, however, if prosecution will be effective. Brazil’s legal system is known to be slow moving, and politicians and elites have a track record of acting with virtual impunity. In 2013, protests raged across the country as the public expressed its frustrations with a judicial system that favored politicians — as much as a third of lawmakers were facing charges at the time of the protests.
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