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Brazil’s Supreme Court sentences rioter who stormed capital to 17 years in prison

Nearly 1,500 people were arrested in January after supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro stormed government offices in a bid to reverse his election loss.
Supporters of Brazil's former President Jair Bolsonaro stand on the roof of the National Congress building in Brasilia, Brazil
Supporters of former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro stand on the roof of the National Congress building in Brasilia on Jan. 8. Eraldo Peres / AP file
/ Source: The Associated Press

SAO PAULO — Brazil’s Supreme Court handed a 17-year prison sentence Thursday to a supporter of former President Jair Bolsonaro who stormed top government offices on Jan. 8 in an alleged bid to forcefully restore the right-wing leader to office.

Aécio Lúcio Costa Pereira, 51, is the first of several participants in the uprising to be prosecuted.

In January, cameras at the Senate filmed him wearing a shirt calling for a military coup and recording a video of himself praising others who had also broken into the building. Almost 1,500 people were detained on the day of the riots, though most have been released.

The majority of the 11 justices of the court ruled that Pereira committed five crimes: criminal association; staging a coup; violent attack on the rule of law; qualified damage; and destruction of public assets. They sentenced him to 17 years in prison.

Pereira denied any wrongdoing and claimed he took part in a peaceful demonstration of unarmed people.

Three other defendants also were standing trial Thursday as part of the same case, and a final decision for each defendant could drag into coming days.

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