Jair Bolsonaro
Jair BolsonaroReuters

Brazil’s former President Jair Bolsonaro has requested that federal authorities return his passport and authorize travel to Israel so he can accept an event invitation from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to visit in May, Bolsonaro’s lawyers said Thursday in a statement, according to The Associated Press.

The attorneys submitted Bolsonaro’s request to the Supreme Court on Monday, according to the report, the same day The New York Times published security camera footage revealing that the former President spent two nights at Hungary’s embassy in Brasilia. His stay, in February, came just days after Federal Police seized his passport during a raid related to an investigation into whether he and top aides plotted to ignore 2022 election results and stage an uprising to keep the defeated leader in power.

The revelation of his stay sparked widespread speculation he may have been attempting to evade arrest, but Bolsonaro’s lawyers have denied that was his intent, saying in a separate statement it was “illogical” to think he was seeking asylum or avoiding authorities.

The stay formed part of his political agenda with the Hungarian government, with whom he has “well-known alignment,” the statement said.

Prosecutors have blamed Bolsonaro's statements against the country's voting system for a violent invasion of the presidential palace, Congress and Supreme Court in January of 2023 by supporters angry about Bolsonaro’s electoral loss to Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

In June of that year, a Brazilian court barred Bolsonaro from holding public office for eight years.

In his petition to the Supreme Court for authorization to travel to Israel from May 12 to 18, Bolsonaro’s lawyers said the proposed trip wouldn’t jeopardize the ongoing legal processes he faces, as he has scheduled appointments after his planned date of return, according to AP.

As President of Brazil, Bolsonaro was a supporter of Israel and visited the country in March of 2019.

Da Silva, in contrast, has criticized Israel and caused an uproar last month after he compared Israel’s actions in Gaza to those of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler against Jews during World War II.

Days after da Silva’s remarks, a large rally took place in São Paulo in support of Bolsonaro, during which Brazilian and Israeli flags were flown side by side, in a show of solidarity with Israel.

(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)