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News > Brazil

Bolsonaro’s Ally Arrested in Operation Against Digital Militias

  • Members of a far-right movement, Sao Paulo, Brazil, 2019.

    Members of a far-right movement, Sao Paulo, Brazil, 2019. | Photo: Twitter/ @andrezamatais

Published 13 August 2021

Before going to jail, Roberto Jefferson insulted the Supreme Court Judge De Moraes and called the Chinese ambassador a "monkey".

On Friday, the Brazilian Federal Police arrested former lawmaker Roberto Jefferson as part of an investigation into far-right groups spreading fake news.


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His arrest was authorized by Federal Supreme Court Judge Alexandre de Moraes. In 2019, law enforcement and judicial authorities began an investigation into the spread of fake news through social networks.

In recent months, however, the inquiries focused on the activities deployed by far-right militants supporting President Jair Bolsonaro. Among the citizens under investigation is the Brazilian president himself, who has been waging a fierce campaign of discredit against electronic voting in recent months.

De Moraes indicated that the investigations have shown strong indications that Jefferson is related to crimes such as defamation, slander and apologia to crime. The judge also recalled that this politician went so far as to request the "closure" of the Supreme Court and the suspension of all the magistrates of the court so as to "end the independence" of the Judiciary.

"The Federal Constitution does not allow the propagation of ideas contrary to the constitutional order... Nor does it allow the posting of expressions on social networks that seek to break the rule of law," De Moraes explained.

The tweet reads: "Video: With weapons in his hands, Roberto Jefferson threatens the Chinese ambassador and calls him 'monkey'. PTB president Roberto Jefferson, one of the most loyal and delusional Bolsonaristas, threatened the Chinese ambassador to Brazil Yang Wanming.”

Jefferson is a politician who has been linked to various parties and irregular actions since at least 1992.  In 2005, for example, he was implicated in a parliamentary bribery scandal that sentenced him to seven years in prison.

After serving his sentence, Jefferson linked himself to the right-wing government of Michel Temer and got his daughter appointed Minister of Labor. Her appointment, however, was annulled by the Supreme Court because she was involved in corruption and labor rights violations.

Before going to prison, Jefferson posted a video on YouTube with a message that insulted Judge De Moraes and ended with the words used by paramilitary groups during the dictatorship.

"The Big Alexander, husband of Madame Vivi, dog of the Federal Supreme Court, decreed my arrest for the crime of digital militia. He is repeating the same acts of the Supreme Court of Venezuela and arresting the Conservatives to enthrone the Communists. God, fatherland , family, life, freedom," Bolsonaro's ally said.

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