Brazil Congress ousts lawmaker accused of husband's murder

By: AFP
Published: 11:37 AM, 12 Aug, 2021
Brazil Congress ousts lawmaker accused of husband's murder
Caption: Flordelis dos Santos
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Brazil's lower house of Congress voted Wednesday to strip a prominent Evangelical lawmaker of her seat after she was charged with having her husband murdered.

Famed Gospel singer and pastor turned congresswoman Flordelis dos Santos was ousted by a vote of 437 to seven.

"There is no doubt Ms. Flordelis participated in the murder," said the rapporteur for the case, Congressman Alexandre Leite, who recommended she be stripped of her seat -- and with it, her congressional immunity -- for violating "parliamentary decorum."

Famous for adopting dozens of street children from Rio de Janeiro's slums, Dos Santos, 60, and her husband, pastor Anderson do Carmo, were a power couple in Brazil's burgeoning Evangelical Christian movement until he was killed in a hail of bullets at their home in the Rio suburb of Niteroi in June 2019.

Rio de Janeiro state prosecutors charged Dos Santos in August last year with "orchestrating the homicide, enlisting (several of her grown children) to take part in the crime and attempting to disguise it as an armed robbery."

Investigators said Flavio dos Santos Rodrigues, Dos Santos's biological son, fired the shots that killed his stepfather, with a gun purchased by Lucas Cesar dos Santos, one of the couple's dozens of adopted children.

Five of the couple's other children and a granddaughter were also accused.

Prosecutors said the suspected motive was to gain power over the couple's revenues, which Do Carmo, 42, managed with "rigorous control."

Dos Santos, who was present for the session, told her colleagues she is innocent.

"When the court absolves me, you will regret condemning a person who has not yet been tried," she said.

Dos Santos was elected to Congress for the conservative Social Democratic Party (PSD) in 2018.

Born in the Rio favela, or slum, of Jacarezinho, she met Do Carmo in 1994.

Together, they founded what they called the Community of the Evangelical Ministry Flordelis.

Dos Santos has not been arrested because of her congressional immunity, but is required to wear an electronic ankle monitoring bracelet.

AFP

Agence France-Presse is an international news agency.