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Argentine lawmaker suspended after lewd act during virtual session

BUENOS AIRES

An Argentine lawmaker was suspended on Thursday after being caught on a live camera caressing a woman before appearing to partially pull down her top during a virtual session of the country’s lower house of Congress.

During a special meeting of the country’s deputies, with a few lawmakers in physical attendance but most others appearing via large screens in the chamber, politician Juan Emilio Ameri appeared sitting with a woman before performing the lewd act.

Shortly after the incident, which went viral and sparked outrage in Argentina, lawmakers voted to suspend Ameri. Ameri is a representative from the northern province of Salta in the ruling political coalition.

Virtual meetings amid the coronavirus pandemic have tripped up lawmakers before. A European Union lawmaker, Ireland’s Luke Ming Flanagan, in June appeared to be wearing no trousers as he discussed policy matters with his European Parliament peers.

Ameri, in comments to local radio, said that he felt bad about what had happened, adding that his internet connection had been poor and that he had been caught in an intimate moment with his partner unaware.

The ruling Frente de Todos coalition said in a statement that it would call for a commission to quickly determine Ameri’s ultimate sanction, which it said would reflect the seriousness of the issue.

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