Even before a group of lawmakers could press for an amnesty law, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro Thursday signed a decree pardoning convicted Congressman Daniel Silveira, who had been sentenced to 8 years and 9 months in jail by the Supreme Federal Court (STF) the day before.
Silveira had been found guilty of anti-democratic acts and aggressions against State institutions. But Bolsonaro argued that freedom of expression is the essential pillar of society. Lawmakers akin to the current administration were drafting a bill to grant amnesty to Silveira, who -they maintained- had been deprived of his Parliamentary Immunity as outlined in the Constitution.
The STF had also imposed a R$ fine of 192,500 (US$ 41,600) on Silveira, in addition to requesting the removal of his parliamentary status.
Society is in legitimate shock at the conviction of a parliamentarian protected by the inviolability of opinion granted to him by the Constitution, who only made use of his freedom of expression, Bolsonaro said.
Silveira had spent a night barricaded in Congress to prevent the police from placing an electronic anklet on him, in compliance with a court order.
The STF Wednesday found by 10 votes to 1 that Silveira was guilty of anti-democratic acts and for calling for violence against state institutions, including the court itself, whose members were insulted and threatened.
The Constitution does not guarantee freedom of expression as a protective shield for the practice of illegal activities, hate speech and against institutions, case rapporteur Alexandre de Moraes had said in his STF vote.
Bolsonaro's decision is unconditional and will be granted regardless of the criminal conviction.
The President later addressed the issue during his usual Thursday live broadcast: Everything here has jurisprudence from Mr. Alexandre de Moraes; we are strictly complying with what he decided before, he assured.
Silveira, a former military policeman and parliamentarian for the state of Rio de Janeiro, was jailed in 2021 for releasing a video with verbal attacks on Brazilian judges.
With the STF's ruling, Silveira had been banned from running for the Senate in October.
As per the STF's interpretation, the Presidential pardon does not restore Silveira his political rights. Hence, Congresswoman Zambelli's bill would still serve a purpose.