- According to Judge Maranhao Costa, there is already a decree that requires residents of the Federal District to wear masks in public places.
- The Attorney General's Office argued Bolsonaro should be treated like any other citizen.
- Brazil has the second-highest total of cases and deaths in the world.
A Brazilian court dismissed a decision on Tuesday that had forced President Jair Bolsonaro to wear a mask in public places in the Federal District in view of the COVID-19. Judge Daniele Maranhao Costa argued that a decree already in force with generalized obligation already existed.
The decision by Judge Maranhao Costa, from the Federal Regional Court, was made in response to a request from the Attorney General’s Office (AGU), the body that defends the executive in legal proceedings. Last week, the AGU appealed the decision of Judge Renato Borelli, which compelled President Bolsonaro to always don a mask when appearing in public places.
According to Judge Maranhao Costa, there is already a decree that requires residents of the Federal District to wear masks in public places. Thus, in the judge’s view, the rule does not need to be enforced by the courts.
As per the court decision, the judiciary power does not lend itself to the purpose of increasing the existing penalty due to non-observance of the rule, under penalty of usurpation of competence and weakening of the separation of powers, if the Federal District only uses its police power to enforce the requirement, or sanction the infringer with the imposition of a fine, in case of non-compliance.
The magistrate also assessed that the type of action chosen by judge Renato Borelli, the author of the decision was not correct, adding that it should be done through public civil action, and not a popular action, as was the case.
Brazil’s Attorney General clarified that the appeal was not intended to exempt the President from the obligation to wear a mask, but rather to ensure that Jair Bolsonaro is treated like any other citizen.
Since March, the use of face masks in public places in the Brazilian capital, Brasília, and other cities in the Federal District, is mandatory, according to the decree of the local authorities.
Jair Bolsonaro has, on several occasions, been filmed walking around Brasília without a mask, violating these rules. This is in addition to participating in acts and demonstrations in which other regulations adopted during the pandemic, such as keeping social distance and social isolation, have been violated.
“The President of the Republic has a constitutional obligation to observe the laws in force in the country. A simple Google search is enough to find countless images of the defendant Jair Messias Bolsonaro moving around Brasília and the surrounding federal district without using a mask and exposing others.” said judge Borelli, in his judgment last week.
Brazil has the second-highest total of cases and deaths in the world, at 59,594 deaths on Tuesday. There have been 1,402,041 people diagnosed with COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, officially registered in the country on 26 February.
The COVID-19 pandemic has already claimed nearly 507,000 deaths and infected more than 10.37 million people in 196 countries and territories, according to a report by the France-Presse news agency (AFP).