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Opinion: Brazilian Justice Alexandre de Moraes continues to advance censorship and authoritarianism

By Lucas Ribeiro

(Opinion) The most powerful Justice of the Federal Supreme Court of Brazil, Alexandre de Moraes, continues to advance in his authoritarian rage.

In the last few years, he has already arrested a member of Congress for the crime of opinion (to whom the Constitution guarantees the right of free expression).

He has already censored journalists such as Allan dos Santos, Rodrigo Constantino, and Paulo Figueiredo.

He has already denied the presidential grace that he himself had given with a previous vote that was indisputable.

Last week he censored the messaging company Telegram. He forced the social network to delete his message criticizing PL 2630 (Censorship Bill) and even forced to publish a message he wanted alleging “abuse of economic power”.

Alexandre de Moraes. (Photo internet reproduction)
Alexandre de Moraes. (Photo internet reproduction)

An excerpt of the decision explains the reasons listed by Justice Alexandre de Moraes:

“Telegram’s conduct constitutes, in theory, not only an abuse of economic power on the eve of the vote on the Bill, for trying to illegally and immorally impact public opinion and the vote of parliamentarians but also a blatant inducement and instigation to maintain various criminal acts.”

“Conduct practiced by the digital militias investigated in INQ 4.874, with aggravation of risks to the safety of parliamentarians, members of the Federal Supreme Court, and the Democratic Rule of Law itself, whose protection is the cause of the establishment of INQ 4.781”.

That is, he accuses (and already judges) that Telegram tried to illegally and immorally impact public opinion and the vote of parliamentarians.

He sees speaking out critically against the Censorship Bill as an attack on the democratic rule of law.

He seems to be an updated re-reading of Louis XIV (“La loi, c’est moi) and now says: “I am the democratic rule of law.”

The uproar in the Brazilian media has been enormous.

Even Folha de São Paulo, a leftist newspaper and generally sympathetic to Lula’s government, published an article questioning the abuse.

According to Folha, “Alexandre de Moraes does not specify which articles of the law the company [Telegram] has violated, although he speaks of illegal behavior.

Lawyer Flávia Lefèvre, a specialist in digital and consumer law, in an excerpt from the Folha report, considers “that the decision to determine the blocking in case of non-compliance was disproportionate and left open a principle of judicial decisions, which is that of well-founded motivation”.

The Estado de São Paulo newspaper harshly criticized the Bolsonaro government and pointed out the abuses of that decision.

The São Paulo newspaper published an article entitled: “Alexandre de Moraes, the censor,” which also stated that the bill must guarantee and leave no doubt that there will be no censorship.

And it ended its text reacting to this action of the Justice against Telegram: “Censorship in public debate is intolerable”.

Writer and journalist JR Guzzo was even more scathing in his criticism.

In his article “The STF is at war against the Constitution, and people’s rights,” published in the Gazeta do Povo newspaper, Guzzo called the STF’s attack on Telegram outrageous:

“The joint attack by the STF and the extremist wings of Lula’s government against the messaging app Telegram is the most recent scandal in this open war against the Constitution and the rights of citizens.”

“Minister Alexandre de Moraes, without any Brazilian law authorizing him to do what he did, forced Telegram to withdraw from circulation an opinion text, criticizing the project to control social networks that the government and the STF want to impose on Brazil.”

The experienced journalist even questioned, “Since when is it forbidden to criticize a bill under discussion in Congress?”

He even mentioned that Telegram was forbidden to express its opinion and was forced to publish an opinion contrary to what it thought.

He further concluded that this kind of attitude is “Nazi stuff, or typical of the former Soviet regime.”

This censorship does not correspond to isolated acts of Justice Alexandre de Moraes.

Journalist Augusto Nunes recalls other episodes of authoritarianism, interference in different powers, and violation of the law by Minister Moraes.

Nunes recalls that in 2020 he prohibited the appointment of Alexandre Ramagem when the law says it is the exclusive competence of the president of the Republic (Bolsonaro was president at the time).

In 2021, the jurist suspended the parliamentary immunity of Daniel Silveira to arrest him.
And recently, he suspended the grace that Bolsonaro had given Silveira even when it is the exclusive competence of the president.

Alexandre de Moraes himself had stated something precisely the opposite of what he is currently doing:

“The grace that this decree deals with is unconditional and will be granted regardless of the final and unappealable sentence of the criminal conviction”, and concluded:

“This is an attribution of the president of the Republic, whether we like it or not”.

Therefore, Justice Alexandre de Moraes is attacking the rule of law when he pretends to defend it.

The more he talks about the rule of law, the more the judge violates the most elementary guarantees.

Last November, La Gaceta de la Iberosfera reported on the assault on democracy that the Brazilian high courts were already carrying out.

It quoted a comment by prosecutor Cleber Tavares Neto, who explained that the law in “Inquérito 4781” is a “liquid and Orwellian” process.

“Liquid” in the sense of the philosopher Bauman and that no one knows how it will be exercised; and “Orwellian” because of the feeling that we are being watched by the “Supreme Big Brother”.

Cleber Tavares Neto explains that the law in Brazil in Moraes’ actions still has a “barbaric” character, in the sense of a legal framework before the Middle Ages based on vengeance and the sovereign’s will.

The authoritarian escalation grows every day in Brazil.

The worst thing is that the violations come from the very Supreme Court, which should be the guardian of the Constitution.

In the South American country, we see an authoritarian aberration poorly disguised as legal technicalities.

What is really happening in Brazil is a dystopian mix.

In an indecipherable legal tangle, the minister’s judicial inquiries have much of Kafka’s “The Trial”, in which the accused never have access to the elements for which they are accused.

Mixed with the barbarism of the personal will of the jurist.

Added to this is a kind of Soviet justice and a persecution apparatus similar to the East German Stasi, always at de Moraes’ disposal to make any decision regardless of legality.

All this happens under the infamous premise of “defending the rule of law” and “democracy”.

A great mockery of Brazilian society.

Brazil news, English news Brazil, politics Brazil, political news Brazil, Brazilian Supreme court, censorship Bazil, authorianism Brazil, Alexandre de Moraes,

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