Minister Blames STF President for Lula's Illegal Imprisonment

Supreme Federal Court (STF) Minister Marco Aurelio Mello blamed the head of that court, Carmen Lucia, for the illegal imprisonment of former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the newspaper Brasil 247 reported today.

One day after charging in statements to Portuguese television that Lula is illegally imprisoned, Mello blamed Carmen Lucia for that crime, during an interview with the Jornal do Brasil, the digital publication posted.

According to the media version, the Supreme Court magistrate recalled that since December, he has released two declarations of unconstitutionality for trial, 'but the president has retained those processes and has not set a date to rule,' he stated. In Mello's opinion, one person should not decide alone what will be on the agenda or not, said the magistrate, for whom that situation should be overcome in September, when Minister Dias Toffoli will be the new STF president.

Carmen Lucia openly maneuvered in April to prevent the plenary session of the Supreme Court from reviewing the two recourses that question the legality of Lula's imprisonment after the sentence was ratified in the second instance. Instead, she included the review of a request for a preventative habeas corpus for Lula, which was denied, on the agenda.

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Brazil: Uruguay Ex-President Mujica Says Lula 'In Good Spirits'

"They can hold your body, but not your heart," former Uruguayan President Jose 'Pepe' Mujica told the crowds of Lula supporters in Curitiba.

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is "in good spirits" despite his incarceration on corruption charges, says former Uruguayan President Jose 'Pepe' Mujica, who has visited the Brazilian presidential candidate in his detention center and delivered a message of encouragement to supporters.

RELATED: Brazil: Uruguay's Jose Pepe Mujica To Visit Lula In Prison

Mujica met with Lula's followers on Thursday outside the Federal Police headquarters in Curitiba, where they have been camped out since the Workers' Party (PT) representative was taken into custody April 7 on corruption allegations.

The former Uruguayan leader praised the achievements realized during Lula's administration, as well as his international endeavors within Latin America.

"Under Lula, Brazil behaved like an older brother," Mujica said, adding that he found the candidate "in good spirits" but was worried for the future of Brazil and Latin America as a whole.

Mujica said Uruguay is concerned about the coming elections and Lula's fate. "For a small country flanked by gigantic Argentina and Brazil, when a neighbor shuts us out, we – Uruguayans – will catch a cold."

Earlier Thursday, Mujica transmitted a live video via social media addressed to Lula's supporters: "They can hold your body, but not your heart."

"There is a slogan there that says 'Lula Libre' (Free Lula); really, the mind can never be imprisoned. They can imprison your body, but not your heart, your mind. For whatever purpose, your mind is your heart, to go on beating for the control of Brazil... For this reason, Lula is free.

"This long fight didn't begin with you or us and it will not end with our lives… It's a shame that it almost takes a miracle to serve one''s country faithfully, but it is our fight."

Lula's 12-year prison sentence is widely viewed as a political stunt by the ruling right-wing government to block Lula from running for re-election.

The 72-year-old leftist politician insists he is innocent. Despite being incarcerated, Lula remains ahead in the presidential polls for Brazil's October presidential election. The PT has repeatedly said they will register Lula as their official candidate come August.

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Brazil: Rapper Mano Brown Says Lula Is 'Only Solution'

Mano Brown, co-founder of Racionais MCs, says "social advances will continue" if Lula is reelected president.

Mano Brown, co-founder of the legendary underground Brazilian hip-hop collective Racionais MCs, has told Estadao newspaper that Brazil's only hope for a brighter future “is if Lula is elected president. That way, social advances will continue.”

RELATED: Brazil: Rapper Mano Brown Laments Right-Wing Turn in Fans

If Lula is not reelected for a third term in office, Brown predicts that the country will “turn into Mad Max. I witnessed the transformation of people during Lula's government.”

Brown went on to say that he's worried about the lost of rights achieved during the Workers' Party governments, which spanned Lula and Dilma Rousseff's presidencies encompassing over 13 years.

He also affirmed that in recent years the country has experienced a wave of low self-esteem and lack of hope. “Now, more than ever, people need to recoup their faith.”

Brown also weighed in on media outlets and politicians attempting to erase the enormous contribution in the struggle against racism and in favor of social inequality undertaken by the Workers' Party, according to Viomundo.

Earlier this year Brown stated "the mentality of periphery neighborhoods has changed...It's impossible to disassociate Racionais MCs from politics and where the country politically is now? The periphery has turned to the right. Rap has turned to the conservative right...The type of rap music produced back in the day has become moralistic religious rap, which doesn't tap into the revolution that needs to happen now."

Brown – along with fellow rappers Ice Blue, Edi Rock and DJ KL Jay – formed the Racionais MCs in 1988. The collective, all of whom hailed from Capao Redondo, a periphery neighborhood on Sao Paulo's south side, referred to themselves as "the four most dangerous Black men in Brazil."

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Even From Prison, Lula Leads in Polls

The Brazilian pollster, Data Folha, says that former president and current candidate Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is far ahead of his competitors with 31 percent of the nation’s electoral support.

A founding member of the Workers’ Party (PT) Lula says he has every intention of running in next October’s presidential election.

Data Folha’s poll released today shows that Lula is far ahead of his next two runner-ups, Jair Bolsonaro - currently being accused of using hate speech - and evangelical environmentalist, Marina Silva, who once formed a part of Lula’s cabinet (2003-2008). Each has about 16 percent of voter support. In fourth place is Joaquim Barbosa, ex-president of the Federal Superior Tribunal (STF).

The Free Lula campaign continues in Curitiba outside of the prison where Lula has been held since April 8 after giving himself up to authorities the day before.

Protests in support of Lula have intensified since he was forced to begin carrying out a 12-year sentence for supposed money laundering and receiving kickbacks in the Brazilian Car Wash scandal. Lula’s defense team argues that the candidate is being denied his constitutional right to appeal this corruption conviction handed down nearly two weeks ago by Brazil's Fourth Regional Federal Court (TRF-4).

On Friday and Saturday, supporters of Lula held a Lula Libre ('Free Lula') conference in Sao Paulo with the intent to unite supporters, strategize a way to free the imprisoned former president, and overthrow the ongoing 'media siege.'

Brazilian Communist Party official Gerardo Nuñez told the media, "Lula is a political prisoner who is condemned without evidence." 

Upcoming events to support Lula’s presidency and release him from prison include an April 17, National Day of Mobilization against Red Globo, the Act in defense of Petrobras in Rio de Janeiro to be held on April 26, and on May 1 - May Day - there will be Rights and Freedom for Lula marches across the country.

Parties have until August 15 to register their official candidate with the Federal Electoral Tribunal (TSE). The PT says that Lula will remain the party’s presidential candidat

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Venezuela Gov't: 'Lula's Imprisonment Directed by US Empire'

"The aggression against the former Brazilian leader is a continental movement directed by the intelligence services of the United States," the National Assembly said.

Venezuela's National Constituent Assembly (ANC) has approved a resolution demonstrating solidarity with Brazil's former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and the Brazilian people.

RELATED: Brazil: 'Free Lula!' Protests Continue in Sao Paulo, Belo Horizonte

Constituent Assembly President Delcy Rodriguez said: "The aggression against the former Brazilian leader is a continental movement directed by the intelligence services of the United States to criminalize social movements against the expansion of the North American empire," Prensa Latina reports.

The head of the Workers' Commission in the ANC, Francisco Torrealba, said: "Working through the continental right-wing United States does not only attack the constitutionality of Venezuela."

The ANC leaders agreed that Lula is being attacked judicially because he represents the progressive option in the Brazilian elections, and his imprisonment is designed to prevent him securing victory at the polls.

During an ordinary session of the ANC, members decided to deliver the resolution to Lula in order to reiterate to Brazilians that Venezuela accompanies them in their struggle for defense of the Constitution and their right to self-determination.

The Brazilian Workers' Party founder was imprisoned this past weekend after Brazil's Supreme Court denied his first habeas corpus plea to remain free while he exhausts his appeals.

Lula was convicted last year on corruption charges in connection with the Operation Car Wash investigation, although he and his lawyers insist he is innocent.

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Brazil: 'Free Lula!' Protest Continue in Sao Paulo, Belo Horizonte

Demonstrators marched through the country's largest city chanting "Free Lula Now!"

Demonstrators, including trade union and political party representatives, marched through Brazil's largest city Sao Paulo late Wednesday chanting “Free Lula!”. The protesters are a continuation of the series of protest, which began last week, calling for former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio 'Lula' da Silva be freed from prison.

RELATED: Brazil: Lawmakers Fear for Lula's Safety, Health in Prison, Call for Probe Into Helicopter Audio

Adding to the hundreds of persons, who protested in Sao Paulo, thousands more, including members of social movements and unions, also took to the streets of Belo Horizonte, the capital of Minas Gerais state, to demand Lula's release.

Minas Gerais state congressman Rogerio Correia, said “only the people are capable of overcoming the crises that the 2016 coup brought to Brazil. It's impressive how more and more people are attuned to the elite's plot and showing their discontent by defending Lula, fulfilling the Constitution and democracy.”

Lula was sentenced to 12 years and one month in prison on corruption charges by Brazil's Fourth Regional Federal Court. The Supreme Court of Justice rejected two habeas corpus appeals submitted by his defense team. Legal experts and observers attribute his case to a salacious media campaign coupled with 'lawfare,' where political foes use loopholes in the judicial system to their advantage, neutralizing their opponents.

After delivering a rousing speech on the grounds of the ABC Steelworkers Union headquarters in Sao Bernardo do Campo, Sao Paulo on Saturday, Lula was hoisted in the air by hordes of supporters. He then complied with the arrest warrant issued by Judge Sergio Moro and was transported by federal authorities to Curitiba last Sunday.

Amid concerns for public safety, Marshalls of the Federal Police Union of Parana requested that the former head of state be "immediately transferred" to a military prison. The Workers' Party (PT) and Communist Party of Brazil (PCdoB) have also expressed concern for the health and safety of the former president as he remains in prison.

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Brazil's Lula Da Silva Launches Candidacy, Says 'They Can Arrest My Flesh But Not My Ideas'

Lula emphasized that he's unsure what will happen in the coming months.

Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio 'Lula' da Silva has launched his pre-candidacy for this year's presidential election during an event hosted at Expominas in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais. Speaking to the crowd on Wednesday, he said that his “torturers,” in reference to judges, the corporate media and others who have pursued him on alleged corruption charges, can arrest “my flesh, but my ideas will carry on free. They will not detain our dreams.”

RELATED: Brazil: Lula Appeals Sentence on 'Technical Grounds'

Lula emphasized that he's unsure what will happen in the coming months. “What I do know is that I do not respect the (court's) decision ... For this reason, I'm a (presidential) candidate. I'll return to ensure that our people benefit from their rights and live better.”

Criticizing Globo, Brazil's largest media outlet, Lula said numerous hours of negative coverage had been dedicated to demonizing him. “What they don't understand is that the people know me,” he said adding "I doubt that their conscious is calm.”

Lula pointed out that the problem faced by the mainstream media is not him, but millions of others who believe in his ideas. “They can try to do away with me, tell the number of lies they tell headed by Rede Globo; they can try to demonize PT (Workers' Party). They are dealing with a different human being because I'm not me, I'm the incarnation of a piece of cell in each of you.

During a radio interview before his speech, Lula commented on the military intervention in the state of Rio de Janeiro. “I fear that the intervention in Rio de Janeiro is pyrotechnics, a maneuver of political interest... If the state is absent regarding public policies in impoverished areas, violence appears.

”He added: “Temer has found a way to become a presidential candidate and believes that public safety can be an important issue to secure a niche.”Lula has appealed his 12-year sentence for corruption on “technical grounds.” His lawyers say the written indictment contained 38 omissions, 16 contradictions and five areas that were unclear.

The faults raised should "result in the annulment of the whole process or acquittal of Lula," his lawyers said.

Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is greeted by supporters during a rally in Belo Horizonte, Brazil February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Washington Alves

 

 

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Brazil: Lula Supporters Convene in Porto Alegre Before Trial

Construction of the “Encampment for Democracy and in Defense of Lula” is currently underway by members of the Popular Brazil Front.

Dozens of jurists, intellectuals and politicians have convened in the Federation of Workers in Financial Institutions of Rio Grande do Norte, Fetrafi, to discuss the legal right of former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio "Lula" da Silva to run in this year's presidential election, as well as defending democracy. 

RELATED: Brazilian Prosecutor Say He 'Sees No Reason' to Detain Lula as Former President Pledges to Clear His Name

A sticking point in the discussion revolved around a number of irregularities in the Operation Car Wash investigations. Lula has been sentenced by judge Sergio Moro for his alleged connection to the graft scandal. His appeal ruling is scheduled for Jan. 24.

“Maybe much greater than those judicial deficiencies is the use of the Criminal Law for political ends,” said Jacson Zilio, professor of Criminal Law at the Federal university of Parana, UFPR. “This is a process in which what is in debate is precisely that destruction of the democratic state governed by the rule of law in which criminal processes are configured as processes of exception.”

Another professor of Criminal Law at UFPR, Juarez Cirino, shared Zilio's opinion, according to Brasil de Fato. He said that as a result of successive electoral losses by Lula's political opponents, as well as the projected loss at the polls later this year, “they've discovered this method of political struggle, dislocating the electoral campaign from public squares” to the Fourth Regional Federal Court, TRF-4 in Porto Alegre, capital of Rio Grande do Sul.

Cirino went on to note that Lula, as many people had anticipated, “was condemned without proof and the people are here, united, in in order to support him at this point in time.”

Having left office with a record approval rating of 83 percent, according to Datafolha, Lula now leads upcoming presidential polls conducted by Vox Populi, Datafolha, Data Poder 360, Instituto Parana, the National Confederation of Transportation/MDA and Ipsos. His two terms in office were marked by slew of social programs, lifting millions of Brazilians out of poverty and removing the country from the U.N. World Hunger Map. He also made significant improvements in housing and education, which stand in contrast to those who governed the country in the past.

Brazil's Fourth Regional Federal Court, TRF-4, will rule on his passive corruption case on Jan. 24. Some argue that the trial was scheduled in a loathsome twist of planning as it falls on the one-year anniversary of his wife's stroke that led to her death.

Construction of the “Encampment for Democracy and in Defense of Lula” is currently underway by members of the Popular Brazil Front and landless farmers. The site will play host to supporters of Lula's cause as they accompany the ruling in Porto Alegre.

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