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Man who stabbed Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro acquitted because of mental illness

Abby Young-Powell

A man who stabbed Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro at a campaign rally last year has been acquitted on the grounds that he was mentally ill.

Adelio Bispo de Oliveira stabbed his country's leader with a knife in the streets of Juiz de Fora, north of Rio de Janeiro, piercing the his intestine and putting his life in danger.

Mr Bispo was then badly beaten by Mr Bolsonaro's supporters.

Judge Bruno Savino ruled that Mr Bispo should be treated in a mental facility within the federal prison system to minimise the risk of escape or another attack.

"The hospitalisation will last for an indefinite period until medical experts have proven that he is no longer dangerous," Mr Savino said in a statement.

Mr Bolsonaro said he will appeal the decision. "I will contact my lawyer. I will try to do whatever is possible. They tried to kill me. I am certain who they were," he said.

He added: "This is a crime against a presidential candidate who now has the mandate and we must go to the final consequences of that situation."

At the moment of the attack, Mr Bolsonaro was on the shoulders of a supporter, looking out at the crowd and giving a thumbs up with one hand.

The far-right politician suffered a deep and life-threatening wound to his intestines, was placed in intensive care and lost 40 per cent of his blood.

But Mr Bolsonaro went on to win the presidential election.

Since he has been in office, Brazil has turned sharply against LGBT+ rights and feminism, officially criminalising homophobia and transphobia last week.

Deforestation of the Amazon has also increased by 20 per cent in the past year, and Brazil has approved more than 1,200 pesticides and weed killers in the last three years with a significant spike in approvals since he came to power.