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Judge rules attacker of Brazil’s Bolsonaro is mentally ill

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro poses for photos with a statue of Our Lady of Fatima,during a Catholic ceremony at which he dedicated his nation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary at Planalto presidential palace in Brasilia, Brazil, Tuesday, May 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — A Brazilian judge ruled Monday that the man charged with nearly killing far-right President Jair Bolsonaro during a campaign event last year should not be punished because he is mentally ill.

Adelio Bispo de Oliveira was charged with stabbing the then presidential candidate in September at a rally in Juiz de Fora, a city 115 miles (186 kilometers) north of Rio de Janeiro.

Federal judge Bruno Savino decided de Oliveira cannot be jailed and ruled he should be put in a mental facility.

Bolsonaro, 63, suffered serious internal bleeding from the stabbing in his abdomen and he needed a colostomy bag for weeks afterward. He was released from the hospital only a week before the first round of voting in Brazil’s presidential election on Oct.7. He had his colostomy reversed in January, after taking office as Brazil’s president.

At the moment of the attack, Bolsonaro was on the shoulders of a supporter, looking out at the crowd and giving a thumbs up with his left hand. He was already leading polls with his pro-gun and anti-corruption agenda, while drawing widespread criticism for several racist, homophobic and misogynistic comments.

Bolsonaro has spent months accusing de Oliveira of being part of a plot to stop him from winning the presidency. Some analysts believe the far-right leader’s victory was partly due to the commotion created around the attack and to his absence in all debates that followed the attack.

De Oliveira belonged to a leftist party years ago and has said his attack was motivated by hatred for Bolsonaro.

The 40-year-old attacker was beaten badly by Bolsonaro supporters after the stabbing. He was also arrested in 2013 for another assault, police have said.

On the same day of the attack, the president of the National Federation of Federal Police, Luis Boudens, told The Associated Press that the assailant appeared to be mentally disturbed.

“Our agents there said the attacker said he was ‘on a mission from God,'” Boudens reported. “Their impression is that they were not dealing with a mentally stable person. He didn’t expect to be arrested so quickly; agents reacted in seconds.” Prosecutors agreed.

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