Brasilia: Brazil’s former President Jair Bolsonaro has been barred from running for office for eight years after he was found guilty of abusing power and misusing public media during the 2022 election campaign.
On Friday, five out of seven judges found Bolsonaro guilty, dashing his hopes of making a political comback in the next presidential election slated to take place in 2026, reports CNN.
The case stems from a meeting Bolsonaro held with foreign ambassadors in July 2022, in which he spread false information about Brazil’s electoral system.
The meeting was livestreamed by official television channels and on YouTube.
YouTube took down the livestream of the event for not complying with its fake news policy.
Judge Alexandre de Moraes, who presided over the court, cast his vote last.
“Let us reaffirm our faith in our democracy and the rule of law,” CNN quoted the judge as saying after voting in favour of the guilty verdict.
Moraes added that with the vote Brazilian authorities would show they do not tolerate “criminal extremism attacking the powers of the state, fake news, disinformation to try to deceive voters”.
While dismissing any wrongdoing, Bolsonaro told reporters later on Friday that he plans to appeal the verdict.
In the October 2022 presidential election, former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who was banned from standing for office after being convicted in a fraud case, received more than 60 million votes, or 50.89 per cent of the ballots, surpassing Bolsonaro’s 58 million votes, or 49.11 per cent.
This was the smallest margin in a runoff election in Brazil’s history.