Brazilian Court Dismisses Bolsonaro Mask Order

  • 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.

Jair Bolsonaro is a Brazilian politician and retired military officer who has been the 38th president of Brazil since 1 January 2019. He served in the country’s Chamber of Deputies, representing the state of Rio de Janeiro, between 1991 and 2018.

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.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic was confirmed to have spread to Brazil on 25 February 2020, when a man from São Paulo tested positive for the virus. As of July 1, there have been 60,194 deaths from more than 1.4 million cases.

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).

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Vincent Ferdinand

News reporting is my thing. My view of what is happening in our world is colored by my love of history and how the past influences events taking place in the present time.  I like reading politics and writing articles. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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