1 of 5 | Brazil's high court on Thursday sentenced a supporter of former President Jair Bolsonaro (pictured at the United Nations, 2022) for his role in the Jan. 8, 2023, attempt to overthrow the government.
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Sept. 14 (UPI) -- Brazil's Supreme Federal Tribunal, the country's high court, on Thursday sentenced a supporter of former President Jair Bolsonaro for his role in the Jan. 8, 2023, attempt to overthrow the government.
Supporters of the right-wing leader stormed the country's Congress, Supreme Federal Tribunal and Planalto Presidential Palace to protest the election of leftist Lula da Silva while calling for a military intervention to overthrow him.
The violent demonstrators, inspired by Bolsonaro's rhetoric during his campaign, clashed with the country's military police and vandalized the buildings in Brazil's capital of Brasília.
Aécio Lúcio Costa Pereira, a 51-year-old sanitation worker from São Paulo, is the first rioter to be sentenced for the incident in January.
He was sentenced Thursday to a 17-year sentence in prison, the court said in a news release translated from Portuguese.
Pereira, who was arrested inside Brazil's Congress by the Senate police, also will have to pay a fine of about $6.1 million, the court said.
His charges included engaging in an attempted coup, violent abolition of the democratic rule of law, armed criminal association, damage of heritage sites, and violence and serious threat against government property with the use of a flammable substance.
Brazil's high court has 11 justices and the vote to convict Pereira was led by Justice Alexandre de Moraes, according to the news release. Another six on the panel voted to convict Pereira on his five charges and agreed with the sentencing in full.
Cristiano Zanin, one of the justices on the panel who did not fully agree to the sentencing, had agreed with the charges but said that some of the aggregating factors should not apply and proposed a sentence of 15 years.
Another justice, André Mendonça, said he did not believe Pereira should have been convicted on the charge of engaging in an attempted coup. Mendonça thought that the charge was redundant with the charge of violent abolition of the democratic rule of law and proposed a sentence of just over 7 years in prison.
A third justice who did not fully agree with the majority, Luís Roberto Barroso, voted not to convict Pereira on the charge of violent abolition of the democratic rule of law. Differing from Mendonça, he said he thought that the charge of attempting a coup absorbed that crime. He proposed a sentence of 10 years.
Justice Kassio Nunes Marques, the case reviewer, had voted for a sentence of just 2.5 years in prison.
Earlier this year, Federal District Gov. Ibaneis Rocha said authorities had arrested more than 400 people who "will pay for the crimes committed."
"Let this serve a lesson to the putschists, because all of the participants, financial backers and masterminds of this coup will be discovered and held to account for these terrorist attacks on our country," Gleisi Hoffman, the president of Lula's Worker's Party said in a statement on Twitter. "Long live Brazilian democracy!"