Brazil's Supreme Federal Court (STF) Wednesday decided by 10 votes against one to sentence Congressman Daniel Silveira to eight years and nine months in prison for attacking democratic institutions and posting insults against the magistrates on social media.
The lawmaker, a well-known supporter of President Jair Bolsonaro, had been charged with coercion, incitement to violence, attacks against the rule of law and democratic institutions and attempting to impede their functioning through serious threat, as per Prosecutor Lindora Araújo's notice.
STF Chief Justice Luiz Fux said Silveira's expressions constituted criminal anarchy against democratic institutions, while Justice Alexandre De Moraes, who acted as rapporteur in the case, downplayed the defense's arguments that the lawmaker's remarks fell under the umbrella of parliamentary immunity.
For De Moraes, calling for the closing of Congress and the Supreme Court was beyond that protection.
Justice Kassio Nunes cast his solitary vote opposing a guilty verdict, saying Silveira's actions did not qualify as crimes.
Silveira's counselor Paulo César Rodrigues argued that his client suffered a violation of due process because the magistrates played the role of victims and accusers, and were also the ones to pass judgment and order the imprisonment.
Justice André Mendonça, who was promoted to the STF by Bolsonaro, proposed a lesser sentence, although he did recognize Silveira's guilt.
Silveira, known for praising Brazil's military dictatorship (1964-1985), has disobeyed court rulings in the past. He was arrested in February after calling on social media for the dismissal of the Supreme Court justices using threats and insults.
In July 2021, he was suspended for six months as a member of Congress by the Lower House's Ethics Council. He has continuously violated the precautionary measures imposed on him during his probation, including making publications on social media, not wearing an electronic anklet, and getting in contact with people he was barred from meeting.
Silveira gained notoriety for publicly tearing up a sign in homage to black women's rights defender Marielle Franco, who was assassinated in 2018.