Brazil’s supreme court has reached a narrow decision that could release almost 5,000 inmates who are still appealing their convictions, including jailed former president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. The court decided in a 6-5 vote on Thursday that a person can be imprisoned only after all appeals to higher courts have been exhausted. The supreme court’s debate began in mid-October and its result could throw Brazil’s political landscape into uncertainty.
President Jair Bolsonaro has insisted that the Brazilian areas of the Amazon rainforest are sovereign territory. Conservationists blame Mr Bolsonaro and his government for turning a blind eye to farmers and loggers clearing land in the Amazon, hastening deforestation. He said it was a “fallacy” to describe the Amazon as the heritage of humanity and a “misconception” that its forests were the lungs of the world.
Protests have erupted in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro after an eight-year-old girl was allegedly killed by police, as the number of victims in operations by security forces continues to rise. Ágatha Vitória Sales Félix was with her mother in a van when she was shot in the back in a poor area on Friday. A record 1,249 people have died in such raids in Rio from January to August.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said on Monday the idea of creating an international alliance to save the Amazon rainforest would be treating Brazil like “a colony or no man’s land,” calling it an attack on the country’s sovereignty. On Twitter, Bolsonaro questioned the intentions behind French President Emmanuel Macron’s attempts to garner support for an international action plan to help preserve the Amazon.
Amid global concern about raging fires in the Amazon, Brazil’s government complained Thursday that it is being targeted in smear campaign by critics who contend President Jair Bolsonaro is not doing enough to curb widespread deforestation. French President Emmanuel Macron called the wildfires an international crisis and said the leaders of the Group of 7 nations should hold urgent discussions about them at their summit in France this weekend.
Brazil’s Amazon rainforest has seen a record number of fires this year, new space agency data suggests. The National Institute for Space Research (Inpe) said its satellite data showed an 84% increase on the same period in 2018. It comes weeks after President Jair Bolsonaro sacked the head of the agency amid rows over its deforestation data. Wildfires often occur in the dry season in Brazil but they are also deliberately started in efforts to illegally deforest land for cattle ranching.
Police in Rio de Janeiro say a sniper has “neutralized” an armed man who took dozens of people hostage on a bus. The man, who reportedly identified himself as a policeman, took 37 people hostage on a bus that was traveling across a busy bridge connecting the suburb of Sao Goncalo to central Rio on Tuesday morning. All the hostages were released unharmed.
A Brazilian drug dealer who tried to escape prison dressed as his daughter has been found dead in his cell. Clauvino da Silva, a 42-year-old leader of one of the most powerful criminal groups in Brazil, Comando Vermelho, was stopped by guards at the prison in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday. He was dressed in a silicon mask, a long-haired dark wig, tight jeans and a pink t-shirt – trying to pass off as his 19-year-old daughter, who had come to visit him.
At least 57 people have been killed in a prison riot in Brazil which saw rival gangs battle for five hours, officials say. Gang members from one prison block invaded another part of Altamira jail in Pará state. Sixteen of the dead were decapitated and the remainder suffocated after part of the prison was set on fire, officials said at a news conference.
Armed men stole $40 million of gold and other precious metals on Thursday from a Sao Paulo cargo terminal at South America’s busiest airport, taking two hostages, police said. A police report said the thieves left with about 750 kg (1,650 lbs) of gold and other precious metals, along with two airport workers taken as hostages, and remained at large.