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Bolsonaro Tells Brazil’s Top Court He Didn’t Seek Asylum With Hungary

(Bloomberg) -- Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s defense told the Supreme Court that is “illogical” to suspect him of having sought political asylum with Hungary when there is no adequate reason for him to be arrested in his home country.

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His lawyers told the court on Wednesday that Bolsonaro has been “highly collaborative” with the investigations against him, making a preventive detention order improbable, according to a copy of the letter seen by Bloomberg.

The document was a reply to Justice Alexandre de Moraes, who asked Bolsonaro to explain his actions after the New York Times reported that he spent two nights at the Hungarian embassy in February after federal police seized his passport. That led to speculation that he might be seeking to avoid arrest amid an investigation into whether he and his allies attempted a coup after his 2022 election defeat.

The lawyers also said that Bolsonaro has “an agenda of political commitments, national and international, which remains extremely active, including in relation to foreign leaders with a conservative stance.”

Bolsonaro is an ally of conservative Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban who voiced support for him in February, when police executed 33 warrants against suspects who allegedly tried to overturn the narrow victory of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in the 2022 presidential election.

The former president maintains “close dialogue” with his Hungarian allies to “deal with international policy and strategic issues of interest to conservatives,” read the document filed by his lawyers.

Read more: Bolsonaro Targeted as Police Ensnares Alleged Coup Plotters

Jurists are split on whether Bolsonaro’s stay at the embassy would be grounds for the court to decree pretrial prison. In 2021, Moraes jailed a former congressman who had sought political asylum in embassies, saying that this indicated a possible attempt to evade justice.

Later Wednesday, Moraes gave the attorney general’s office five days to take a stand on the information provided by Bolsonaro, the supreme court said in a statement. Only after the ruling, Justice will analyze the case.

Vienna Convention

The 1963 Vienna Convention says that foreign embassies are inviolable. So police could not enter the embassy to arrest him if he were there.

On Monday, Bolsonaro’s lawyers confirmed that he had visited the embassy but denied it was related to the investigation.

A spokesperson for Hungary’s Foreign Ministry on Tuesday said the ministry didn’t have anything to add “beyond what President Bolsonaro has already said.”

Read More: Bolsonaro Targeted as Police Ensnares Alleged Coup Plotters

Bolsonaro is facing several probes, and police last week recommended criminal charges over allegations that he ordered forged Covid-19 vaccine records. He is also under investigation for allegedly trying to bring $3 million worth of jewelry gifted to him by the government of Saudi Arabia into the country without declaring the items to customs agents.

(Adds Moraes request of attorney general’s office in eighth paragraph)

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