Bolsonaro ordered to surrender his passport as police probe attempted coup d’etat in 2023

Police ask the former president not to leave the country


The Brazilian Federal Police, on Thursday, surprised former president Jair Bolsonaro in his beach house in the tony town of Mambucaba in Rio de Janeiro at 7 am. They demanded his passport in an operation that targeted him and several of his top allies as part of the investigation into an alleged coup attempt after the 2022 elections.

Bolsonaro, who said his passport was in the capital Brasilia, was ordered to surrender it within 24 hours. He was also told that he cannot leave the country.

Bolsonaro's former international affairs advisor, Felipe Martins, was arrested in the police operation along with Colonel Marcelo Câmara, and Major Rafael Martins of Brazil’s Special Forces. The arrest warrant against Colonel Bernardo Romão Corrêa Netto could not be served as he is currently in the United States.

Search warrants were also served on properties connected to Bolsonaro's former cabinet ministers, including his former chief of staff Walter Braga Netto and national security advisor Augusto Heleno.

“All of that in order to justify an accusation of an operation that did not exist,” Bolsonaro told CNN-Brazil in a phone interview.

“In compliance with today's decisions, President @jairbolsonaro will hand over the passport to the competent authorities. He has already instructed his direct assistant, who was targeted by the same decision and was in Mambucaba, to return to his home in Brasília, complying with the order of avoiding contact with the others investigated,” said Fabio Wajngarten, former communications secretary of the Bolsonaro administration.

Over 30 search warrants were carried out and four arrest warrants were issued across 10 states and the capital Brasilia as part of an operation code-named Tempos Veritates (Time for Truth). Federal police said the operation was related to the January 8, 2023, attack on government buildings by Bolsonaro supporters seeking to overturn the election won by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

The accusations are grave and include evidence that Bolsonaro and those close to him pressured high-ranking members of the military to orchestrate a coup to prevent Lula from assuming office. 

The crackdown represents the strongest action yet to hold Bolsonaro and his allies accountable for alleged threats to Brazilian democracy before and after the election leading to the January 8 insurrection attacks against the centres of power of Brazil in its capital.

President of the PL, Valdemar Costa Neto, was also arrested Thursday for charges of illegal possession of a firearm. He is mentioned in the investigation in discussions of how to claim fraud in the elections in the event of a Lula victory.

The charges are serious and include evidence that Bolsonaro and those close to him pressured high-ranking members of the military to carry out a coup to keep Lula from office.

Bolsonaro had aggressively sought to sow doubts about the electoral process in the months surrounding the vote.

The former president has been under investigation for various other matters, including a recent scandal that accused him of using resources of the state’s spy agency ABIN to spy on his enemies and for his personal gain.

The investigation reveals a disturbing narrative of potential threats to Brazilian democracy and the integrity of Brazil’s military.

The police said Bolsonaro was asked to surrender his passport as they fear that he may leave the country like many others who fled Brazil following investigations.

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