Bin Laden arrested

RIO DE JANEIRO – A candidate for a legislature seat in the Brazilian state of Amazonas who goes by the name “Osama bin Laden” has been arrested for violating election rules.

The news website G1, citing election judge Henrique Veiga, reported that the candidate, whose real name is Manoel Nunes de Assis, gave away free bottles of water to voters at Quarentao school in the Cidade Nova neighbourhood of Manaus, where about 20,000 people cast their ballots in Sunday’s general election.

Mr Assis was standing for the tiny centrist National Labour Party (PTN).

“The candidate was wearing Arab-style clothes outside Quarentao school, pretending to sell water but actually canvassing for votes,” Mr Veiga said.

Mr Assis registered with electoral authorities with the nickname bin Laden, which is allowed by local rules.

However, Brazilian law bans canvassing for votes on election day. Electoral rules allow candidates to stand under whatever name they choose and this year featured an imaginative crop, including Wonder Woman and Rambo, while a handful also stood as Barack Obama.

Mr Assis, one of three candidates named Bin Laden standing in Sunday’s elections, faces being removed from the race if he is found to have violated election rules.

The Superior Electoral Court detained 551 people in all, including 55 candidates, for various indiscretions across the country an hour before polls closed in most of Brazil’s 27 states.