Probe Into Bolsonaro’s Hungarian Embassy Hideout

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Brazil’s Federal Police kicked off a probe on Monday into ex-President Jair Bolsonaro’s peculiar two-night stay at the Hungarian embassy in Brasilia. There’s rife speculation among his critics that he was dodging potential arrest.

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A Federal Police insider, privy to the probe details, confirmed to The Associated Press that the action was spurred by a New York Times report. The report included security footage showing Hungary’s ambassador greeting Bolsonaro on Feb. 12, plus clips of Bolsonaro during the visit. Hungary’s leader Viktor Orbán, a global far-right figure, stands as a staunch Bolsonaro ally.

The scrutiny arose just after Bolsonaro’s passports were confiscated and his allies’ residences searched. These moves are part of an inquiry into accusations they conspired to dismiss 2022’s election verdict and incite a rebellion to retain the ousted leader in power.

Bolsonaro rebuffs all allegations tied to this and other investigations.

Given diplomatic rules, Federal Police, even with an arrest warrant, wouldn’t be allowed to step into the Hungarian embassy’s premises.

On Monday, Bolsonaro’s attorneys issued a statement dismissing any concerns over his embassy time.

“During his stay at the Hungarian embassy, on invitation, the former Brazilian president engaged with numerous officials from the allied nation to discuss both countries’ political landscapes,” his lawyers claimed. “Any other interpretation… is an outright fictional narrative, detached from what actually happened.”

At his party base in Sao Paulo, Bolsonaro told fans about his regular chats with Orbán on politics.

“I keep in touch with some world leaders till now,” Bolsonaro remarked. “If I had my passport, I’d have gone to Israel.”

Brazil’s foreign ministry, in a brief note, mentioned summoning Hungary’s ambassador Miklos Halmai to shed light on Bolsonaro’s time as his embassy guest.

Before his supporters’ Capitol assault in a bid to overturn President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s rule, Bolsonaro jetted to the U.S. and stayed in South Florida for three months.

With the news breaking on Monday, some of Bolsonaro’s political foes clamored for his capture, suggesting he’s prepping for another flight.

“These clips just pile on evidence that Bolsonaro is an admitted runaway,” Alexandre Padilha, Lula’s minister, declared to the press in Brasilia, alluding to Bolsonaro’s prior U.S. escape. “Yet, what the judiciary and Federal Police do with these New York Times images ain’t my call.”

Augusto de Arruda Botelho, a vocal Bolsonaro critic, tweeted on X, the Twitter successor, that “Bolsonaro’s embassy hideaway screams for preemptive detention.”

“It’s a textbook example they use in law schools,” he pointed out.

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