Social Movements in Brazil demand Lula's release

Brasilia, July 18 (RHC)-- Representatives of social movements took to the streets in several cities of Brazil Wednesday to demand the immediate release of former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who has been imprisoned at the Federal Police Headquarters in Curitiba since April 2018.

In Brasilia, the member of the agrarian sector of the Workers' Party (PT), Samuel Carvalho, indicated that "Lula Libre" committees were created to protest in front of the headquarters of the Public Ministry in rejection of the irregularities in the investigation of the Lava Jato case.

"In addition to Brasilia there are nine other cities that confirmed the celebration of rallies to demand the annulment of Lula's conviction, based on the report byThe Intercept, which shows the political persecution against the former president, he said.

Carvalho considers that one of the challenges is to transmit to the people the reality of the persecution that occurs in the country, as well as the consequences of the neoliberal policies implemented by the Government of Jair Bolsonaro.

"Our challenge is to talk to people so that they understand that Lula was persecuted to end the policies of social inclusion and justice for the people," implemented during the administrations of Lula and Dilma Rousseff.

Meanwhile, the  Brazilian Attorney General´s office estimated that the performance of Sérgio Moro as judge did not hurt Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in the case of the triplex apartment in Guarujá.

In an opinion delivered to the Superior Court of Justice (STJ), Deputy Attorney Nívio de Freitas refuted Lula's defense request that the conviction for the triplex case be annulled, Prensa Latina reports.

The lawyers of the PT former leader quoted  the messages and conversations published by The Intercept website in which it is demonstrated the partiality and lack of ethics of Moro to incriminate and condemn Lula.

However, the Federal Public Ministry affirms that such dialogues are illegal and would not demonstrate an irregular performance of the former magistrate, and current Minister of Justice and Security.

For De Freitas, you can not support a request for annulment 'just based on newspaper articles'.

Edited by Jorge Ruiz Miyares
  • Published in World

Argentinean Presidential Candidate Visits Lula in Prison

Buenos Aires, Jul 5 (Prensa Latina) ''Lula's detention is a blemish on democracy,'' said Argentinean Presidential Candidate Alberto Fernandez, who visited the former Brazilian head of State in prison, where he has been held for more than 450 days.

According to local media, the candidate from 'Frente de Todos' arrived at the prison in Curitiba accompanied by former Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim to express his solidarity to Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who has been in prison for alleged corruption and with whom he spoke about several issues that affect the region.

Lula is a victim of arbitrary imprisonment. I come to visit a man who is wrongfully in prison, Fernandez said minutes before entering the Superintendence of the Federal Police in Curitiba.

The Brazilian State does not realize that it is generating a blemish on the country by keeping Lula in prison, said Fernandez, who is running for the presidency of Argentina along with former President Cristina Fernandez.

After the meeting, the presidential candidate pointed out that Lula is very important for all of us. We Argentineans are very grateful to him and have great affection for him.

He added that Lula is a man about whose innocence he does not doubt and has the right to be free.

Brazil does not deserve a blemish like Lula's imprisonment. The Brazilian people do not deserve it,' he stressed.

Fernandez pointed out that he will always be on the side of the former Brazilian president and will do everything possible until the judicial system understands that citizens' rights and guarantees have to be respected. I demand that detention to end as soon as possible, he noted.

  • Published in World

Brazil's Lula convicted to keep him from 2018 election: Report

Brazil's justice minister and prosecutors collaborated to convict left-wing icon Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on corruption charges to prevent him from contesting the 2018 election, an investigative news outlet has reported.

The Intercept said on Sunday an anonymous source provided material, including private chats, audio recordings, videos and photos, that show "serious wrongdoing, unethical behaviour, and systematic deceit".

"Secret documents reveal that Brazil's most powerful prosecutors ... plotted to prevent the Workers' Party [PT] from winning the 2018 presidential election by blocking or weakening a pre-election interview with former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva," said the news report. 

Among the explosive claims, The Intercept said prosecutors in a massive, years-long anti-corruption probe known as "Car Wash" had expressed "serious doubts whether there was sufficient evidence to establish Lula's guilt".

Justice Minister Sergio Moro was the anti-corruption judge who handed Lula his first conviction in 2017, which prevented him from running in a presidential election he was widely expected to win.

President Jair Bolsonaro, who said during his campaign that he hoped Lula would "rot in prison", later made Moro part of his cabinet.

Glenn Greenwald, a cofounder of The Intercept and member of the team that first interviewed Edward Snowden in 2013, said on Twitter the leak was "one of the largest & most important in years".

This is "just the very beginning of what we intend to reveal from this massive archive about him [Moro] & the prosecutors with whom he unethically worked", said Greenwald.

The claims come at a bad time for Bolsonaro, who is already facing mounting opposition less than six months into his term, as Latin America's biggest economy teeters on the edge of recession and his signature pension reform remains stuck in a hostile Congress.

'Out of context'

In response to The Intercept's stories, Moro defended his actions as a judge in the ongoing Car Wash probe, and said the material obtained through the "criminal invasion of prosecutors' cell phones" had been "taken out of context".

"Careful reading reveals that there is nothing there despite the sensational material," Moro said on Twitter.

The Car Wash task force confirmed its investigators had been hacked, but said it did not know the extent of the breach.

1/ EXCLUSIVE: We obtained one of the largest & most important archives of leaked material in years: containing the secret chats, audios, videos & documents of the prosecutors & Judge - now Bolsonaro's Justice Minister, Sergio Moro - who imprisoned Lula. It shows vast wrongdoing.

Politically motivated

Lula, who led Brazil through an historic boom from 2003 to 2010, has denied all corruption charges against him, arguing they were politically motivated to prevent him from competing in the elections.

He is serving a reduced jail term of eight years and 10 months after being convicted of accepting a seaside apartment as a bribe for helping the OAS construction company get lucrative deals with state oil firm Petrobras.

While behind bars, Lula's Workers' Party registered him as its presidential candidate in August 2018 - two months before the election. However, an electoral court barred him two weeks later.

A second conviction was handed down in February, for which he was sentenced to almost 13 years.

Fernando Haddad, PT's election candidate who lost to Bolsonaro, said on Twitter "we could be facing the biggest institutional scandal in the history of the republic".

"The truth will prevail" was posted on Lula's Twitter account above a link to The Intercept stories. 

Days before filing the indictment that put Lula in jail, group chats involving prosecutors in the case showed that chief prosecutor Deltan Dallagnol "expressed his increasing doubts over two key elements of the prosecution's case: whether the triplex was in fact Lula's and whether it had anything to do with Petrobras".

The leaked material also shows "Car Wash prosecutors spoke openly of their desire to prevent the PT from winning the election and took steps to carry out that agenda", The Intercept reported.

"Moro secretly and unethically collaborated with the Car Wash prosecutors to help design the case against Lula ... only for him to then pretend to be its neutral adjudicator."

  • Published in World

Lula da Silva says Brazil needs more education, not more guns

Brasilia, May 13 (RHC)-- In an interview aired by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva warned that his country's problems will not be solved by governmental decisions that facilitate the use of weapons instead of promoting education.

The Workers' Party leader said that Brazil's current president, Jair Bolsonaro, "barbarously defends an armed, police state.  In his head, a weapon solves everyone's problem.  He has just authorized that farmers can use guns and shoot anyone they want."  Lula added the Bolsonaro "is sick and believes that Brazil's problems will be solved with weapons.  Brazil's problems will be solved with books, with schools," stressed the left-leaning politician.

The criticism came just days after former Brazilian Army captain Bolsonaro signed a decree authorizing truck drivers, legislators, journalists, private security agents, lawyers and others to carry weapons in public places.  This executive order will allow some 19.1 million citizens to request firearm licenses, according to Souda Paz Institute, an NGO dedicated to promoting a peace culture in Brazil.

On Wednesday, the current far-right administration also announced it would "block" 30 percent of the national budget already allocated to universities and research institutes from receiving their funds.  This budget cut immediately moved thousands of Brazilian professors, students and scientists to protest and plan for a nationwide strike against social security reforms set for May 15.??????

Regarding the repression of young people and students, Lula pointed out in the exclusive interview that "for the wellbeing of Brazil, I hope [Bolsonaro] learns.  Instead of talking nonsense, Bolsonaro should say the following: 'I will finish my term term being better than Lula, I will create more universities, I will invest more in science and technology, I will enroll more children in school.'"

During the interview, the 73-year-old politician and political prisoner answered several questions about the corruption allegations used to send him to jail for eight years, down from his original 12-year sentenced ruled on in 2018.

"The only thing that interests me is to prove my innocence and I will fight for it until my last days," Lula said and commented that, besides being politically motivated, his trial was wrought with legal irregularities.  No actual evidence against the ex-president was ever presented in court, just testimonies against him.??????

Since April 7, 2018, Lula has been imprisoned at a Curitiba's federal prison convicted of allegedly receiving a luxurious beach apartment from Odebrecht, a Brazilian construction company in exchange for contracts with Petrobras, a state-owned oil company.

Lula recalled that many opposition politicians wrongly thought he was going to leave Brazil before being arrested.  "I decided to stay in my country.  If they want me in Curitiba, I will be there," he said and thanked "those wonderful people who are out there," referring to the thousands of Brazilians supporters who have been in permanent mobilization and solidarity since his imprisonment in April 2018.

Brazil's Federal Supreme Court recently ruled to allow Lula to be interviewed.  This was his first broadcast interview originally set to be aired on RedeTV, but the Brazilian media outlet changed course last week, allegedly pressured by the Bolsonaro administration.

Edited by Ed Newman
  • Published in World

Lula's Defense, There's Evidence of his Innocence

Brasilia, May 4 (Prensa Latina) Lawyers Valeska Teixeira and Cristiano Zanin, of the defense of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, confirmed that there is evidence of the innocence of the former Brazilian president, who has been in prison since April 2018, which is currently ignored by the justice system.

Ex-President Lula has always made it very clear that this trial was unfair and partial,' says Teixeira, who, along with Zanin, gave an interview to Carta Capital magazine.

Both jurists relate that '73 witnesses were heard and none of them made any statement that could confirm the accusatory hypothesis'.

However, they add, Lula was convicted because the informant Léo Pinheiro, a defendant in the trial, 'gave a testimony that served as a basis for that conviction, through a fantasy version, which we understand liar and that he himself said he was altering the previous position.

It was changing because it was negotiating an agreement with the Federal Public Ministry (MPF) for profit, Zanin said.

Since April 7, 2018, Lula has been in prison for allegedly receiving a luxurious triplex apartment in the city of Guaruja, on the Sao Paulo coast, from the OAS construction company in exchange for favoring the company in contracts with state-owned oil company Petrobras.

Faced with the accusations, the former trade unionist insists that he is the victim of real political persecution and that he will fight to the end for his dignity.

According to the lawyers, there were events that influenced the trial.

We had several anomalies during the process, a procedure clearly linked to the political events in the country, a record speed imposed on the process before the 2018 elections, that is to say, we had a strategic action of the Judicial Branch,' they point out.

Recently, the Supreme Court of Justice (STJ) reduced Lula's sentence from 12 years and one month to eight years and 10 months for passive corruption and money laundering.

In a unanimous decision, the fifth court of the STJ nevertheless upheld the punishment against the ex-president and the votes were pronounced during the trial on an appeal filed by his defense.

In this regard, lawyers comment that what was obtained was little. We were waiting for absolution, because it's the right result to evaluate, but we're going to look for it until the end and there are plenty of elements for it,' emphasises Zanin.

At another point, lawyers are calling for an independent and impartial trial 'so that there is independence from public opinion and the media. Anything that doesn't refer to compliance with the law should not be taken into account,' they say.

For Teixeira, the process follows a completely political rather than a judicial logic. The accusations lack materiality. There is a joint action of the Judicial Branch with parts of the Brazilian media, in the sense of demonizing the former president, almost a psychological illusionism. It's a legal war to delegitimize the enemy.

Our position is that these condemnations can never prevail. Our position is firm and in none of the trials has any proof of guilt been presented,' the lawyers stress.

  • Published in World

'Lula is Political Prisoner': American Association of Jurists

A specialized NGO having UN consultative status affirms that imprisonment of Lula Da Silva seeks to remove him from the Brazilian political process.

The American Association of Jurists (AAJ), an NGO with consultative status at the United Nations Economic and Social Council (Ecosoc), has published a statement recognizing former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva as a political prisoner.

RELATED: 'Lula will have no Chance of Freedom,' Threatens Bolsonaro

Lula's sentence "was issued as a consequence of an accusation produced by violating the due process of law, that prejudiced (his) right to a defense, and without evidence," the AJJ said Thursday and pointed out that Brazilian far-right politicians, "benefited in the elections while Lula da Silva was isolated (in prison) as a presidential candidate and had the broadest popularity in the electoral polls."

The AAJ, which already denounced Lula's 12 year sentence at the 2018 UN Human Rights Council general session, saying that Brazil's Superior Electoral Tribunal invalidated his candidacy for the presidency, forbade him to speak from prison and prevented the Workers' Party (PT) from using his image in the electoral campaign. These measures were taken despite the fact that the country's constitution guaranteed Lula the presumption of innocence.

"Such conditions demonstrate a detention that was made by violating fundamental guarantees, endorsing clearly political motivations, lacking connection with a properly and well defined offense, and having a duration and accessory penalties which are aimed at both moving Lula da Silva away from the national political process and laying foundations to discriminate against people endorsing different ideological tendencies through irregular procedures," the AAJ explained.

According to the Council of Europe's jurisprudence, this makes Lula a political prison.

His current situation could also be described as a case of "prison of conscience," affirms the AAJ.

Evidence of the mishandling of Lula's case became evident March 4, 2016 when Curitiba's Judge Sergio Moro authorized searching the former president's apartment because he was considered "a likely ​​​​​​​suspect" of money landry and corruption.

This raid began a "lawfare on Lula", using the judicial system, supported by Brazil's mainstream media, to eventually indict him S​​​​​​​ept. 20 for allegedly receiving bribes from Odebrecht construction company in the form of remodeling of a three-floor beach apartment. 

In May 2017, Lula was allowed to provide his first testimony in the so-called 'Triplex Case', which showed he did not own any such apartment. Nevertheless, in July 12, Moro condemned Lula to nine years and six months in prison.

Six months later, Jan. 24, 2018, Curitiba's Federal Court sentenced Lula to 12 years in prison with no time to appeal just when all the polls indicated that he was the favorite to win the ​​presidential elections.

In January 2019 after far-right politician Jair Bolsonaro won the Brazilian presidency, he appointed Sergio Moro as his Minister of Justice.​​​​​​​

  • Published in World

Lula's Sentence Reduced to 8 Years by Top Judges Panel

The ruling by the special court could mean that Lula's defense could request house arrest for the former president. 

A Brazil special court of supreme judges ruled Tuesday to reduce the sentence of former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva,  from 12 years and 10 months to eight years and 10 months, which would potentially allowed his defense to file for moving him to house arrest. 

The investigating judge of the appeal of the sentence against former Brazilian president Felix Fischer, of the Superior Court of Justice, today rejected all the appeals for the release and annulment of the sentence but agreed to reduce it to 8 years and 10 months in prison.

With this penalty, which will still be evaluated by the other judges on the top court, Lula could be moved from a state prison to a "semi-open prison" like house arrest within three months.

In his vote, Fischer denied the preliminary requests made by the defense, such as the request for the case to be forwarded to electoral justice.

Last year Lula was sentenced by a Porto Alegre’s Federal Court to 12 years in prison for alleged corruption and money laundering by Judge Sergio Moro, who was the a Federal judge and is now President Jair Bolsonaro’s Justice Minister.

Prosecutors alledged that Lula owns a three-floor luxury apartment at the Guaruja beach that was renovated at a cost of US$ 1.1 million, a money which allegedly the leftist former president received in return for help securing contracts with petrobras, the Brazilian state-run oil company.

BREAKING | Brazil's Supreme Justice Court has reduced former President Lula da Silva's sentence from 12 years and one month; to 8 years, 10 months and 20 days.

  • Published in World

Chomsky: Assange and Lula the Same Case to Silence Their Voices

The world-renowned linguist and academic said that Assange's arrest is just a new case of “efforts to silence” dissident voices.

U.S. intellectual Noam Chomsky voiced his concerns Friday over the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange during an interview with Democracy Now, calling the situation a “scandalous in several respects.”

RELATED: The Assange Arrest is a Warning From History

The world-renowned linguist and academic said that this is just a new case of “efforts to silence” dissident voices. Chomsky compared Assange’s arrest to Lula’s political imprisonment, focusing on the fact that both said and did things that “people in power don’t like”, so therefore they “have to silence it.”

“Last September, Lula da Silva was the leading, the most popular figure in Brazil, who was almost certain to win the forthcoming election, put him in jail, solitary confinement, essentially a death sentence, 25 years in jail, banned from reading press or books, and, crucially, barred from making a public statement—unlike mass murderers on death row,” adding that “he’s the most important political prisoner in the world. Do you hear anything about it?... Assange is a similar case: We’ve got to silence this voice.”

On April 11, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange Ecuador seven-year asylum was abruptly removed and he was arrested by British police. Immeadlty the United States charged him of  "computer hacking conspiracy." Now his defense is fighting an extradition request to face the U.S. justice system, even though Ecuadorean officials have assured this will not happen.

Assange was even called a “miserable hacker” by Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno. But his defense is strongly dismissing it, stating that he is a publisher and journalist, with more than 20 awards in the field. As Ben Wizner, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project has explained the “prosecution by the U.S. of Mr. Assange for Wikileaks’ publishing operations would be unprecedented and unconstitutional and would open the door to criminal investigations of other news organizations.”

However, Democratic Senator Joe Manchin told CNN that they are “going to extradite him. It will be really good to get him back on United States soil. So now he's our property and we can get the facts and truth from him."

On this regard, Chomsky said the fact the U.S. can manipulate the policies and actions of other nations is a scandal in itself. “The extraterritorial reach of the United States is shocking...why should the United States have the power to control what others are doing elsewhere in the world? I mean, it’s an outlandish situation,” he said.

  • Published in World
Subscribe to this RSS feed