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Brazil court rejects Bolsonaro appeal against election ban

Brazil's Superior Electoral Court on Thursday rejected an appeal by former president Jair Bolsonaro against an earlier ruling that barred him from running for office for eight years.

The court in June blocked Bolsonaro from the next presidential election in 2026, in a ruling that accused him of "abuse of political power and misuse of the media" over his unproven claims that Brazil's electoral system was fraud-prone.

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In its initial ruling, the court said Bolsonaro had used false information to question the reliability of the electronic ballot box system three months before the 2022 presidential election, which he lost to leftist President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

His appeal was unanimously rejected by the seven-magistrate court.

The far-right former leader had called the sentence a "stab in the back", and had previously said he would also appeal before the Supreme Federal Court, Brazil's highest judicial forum.

In July 2022, Bolsonaro had said, without citing evidence, that he sought to "correct flaws" in the electronic ballot box system with the "participation of the Armed Forces".

He also alleged that the electoral system could be manipulated to turn the result against him, something he repeated on numerous occasions during his campaign against Lula.

Outraged over his defeat last October, thousands of Bolsonaro's supporters blocked highways and camped outside barracks across the country calling for military intervention.

On January 8, a week after Lula's inauguration, they invaded and ransacked the presidential, congressional and Supreme Court buildings in Brasilia.

Bolsonaro is also the subject of five investigations at the Supreme Court that carry possible prison sentences.