Brazil’s parliament has voted to recommend criminal charges against far-right presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro, who told a sexual assault victim he would “penetrate” the genitals with his bare hands.
A member of Brazil’s Congress on Monday said a criminal investigation should be launched against right-wing presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro.
Congressman Antonio Carlos Baena da Silva’s call for a prosecutor to open a criminal investigation came after a graphic video posted on social media was watched millions of times in the wake of Bolsonaro’s sexual assault comments.
Bolsonaro admitted that he used offensive language to describe a female political opponent. But he dismissed the possibility of ever being charged for saying he would use “penetrating techniques” to inflict pain if elected.
“As long as they won’t open a criminal investigation, I don’t care,” Bolsonaro said Sunday. “They can have a revolution and I’ll be even better.
“People will turn against those in power. I don’t understand what is going on.”
A Brazilian congressional commission on Monday backed the recommendation that a full commission investigate Bolsonaro’s remarks.
Lawmakers narrowly rejected the recommendation of another lawmaker to wait at least 90 days before recommending criminal charges. The full commission must still vote on whether to proceed with the investigation.
Bolsonaro, who is running on a promise to “make Brazil great again,” was filmed this month speaking to supporters in Juiz de Fora, Brazil. He told one woman she was too ugly to wear shorts or party with him.
“I’ll do anything,” he said. “I’ll penetrate your vagina with my bare hands. I’ll go to the emergency room. I’ll pay for it.”
Presidential candidates are required to publicly demonstrate they are fit to hold office through a medical examination in the period before the polls open.
The student victim who had surgery, started a social media campaign and received thousands of calls and messages following the comment in which he also acknowledged the possibility of rape and attempted rape.
In recent months, Bolsonaro, who has expressed support for the death penalty, said the change in his position was partly due to his sons. One son who accompanied him on the campaign trail responded to criticism by saying the journalist’s “bad-looking family members” were not representative of the candidate’s ideals.