Brazil court suspends probe into Indigenous leader who criticized Bolsonaro

FILE PHOTO: Indigenous leader Sonia Guajajara of the Guajajara tribe is seen during an interview with Reuters during her European tour in Paris, France, November 11, 2019. REUTERS/Noemie Olive/File Photo

BRASILIA (Reuters) - A Brazilian judge on Wednesday suspended a police probe into a top Indigenous leader who had criticized the government of President Jair Bolsonaro for its handling of the COVID-19 crisis, which has had a devastating impact on native peoples.

Federal Judge Frederico Botelho de Barros Viana halted the investigation into Sonia Guajajara, head of Brazil's largest Indigenous umbrella organization, APIB, saying there was no indication a crime had been committed, court documents show.

The federal Indigenous agency, under Bolsonaro's control, had requested the investigation related to Guajajara's documentary series that denounces the lethal impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Brazil's 850,000 Indigenous people and accuses the government of genocide for not protecting them.

Viana said in the court documents that the police investigation was a clear attempt to suppress the work being done by APIB.

(Reporting by Ricardo Brito; writing by Jake Spring; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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