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Judge censors story on alleged electoral preference of gang leader

Justice Alexandre de Moraes, head of Brazil’s Electoral Court, this Sunday censored a digital outlet and ordered president Jair Bolsonaro and several of his allies to delete references to a story claiming Marcos Williams Herbas Camacho, the leader of Brazil’s largest criminal gang, “declared his vote” for Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

In an emergency injunction, Justice Moraes ordered O Antagonista to delete the story due to it being “knowingly false.”

Mr. Camacho, commonly more known in Brazil by his nickname Marcola, is the leader of the PCC crime gang, or the First Command of the Capital. The US government describes the PCC as “the most powerful organized crime group in Brazil and among the most powerful in the world”. He’s been in jail since 1999, and due to his criminal convictions, he cannot actually vote.

The story quotes a Federal Police investigation. In conversations inside prison, Marcola was recorded saying Mr. Bolsonaro “really must leave [office]”, and that, should Lula be elected, inmates can “request some things,” in a reference to perks such as conjugal visits in federal prisons.

Several investigations have shown that the Bolsonaro administration made it much easier for Brazil’s organized crime gangs, including the PCC, to obtain guns through proper legal channels.

Censorship is unconstitutional in Brazil. Since 2019, Justice Moraes has presided over a Supreme Court with no clear object that has been used for several different purposes, including censoring news stories.

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