Brazil’s Lula Seeks UN Help against “Judicial Persecution”

BRASILIA – Attorneys for Brazil’s former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva filed a motion on Thursday with the UN Human Rights Council accusing authorities in the South American nation of mounting a “judicial persecution” of their client in the course of a corruption probe.

The former head of state’s Lula Institute said the brief was presented by prominent British human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson, who has represented boxer Mike Tyson and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

“Lula is bringing his case at the UN because he cannot get justice in Brazil under its inquisitorial system,” the attorney said in a video released by the institute.

“His telephones are being tapped, as are those of his family and his lawyers and the intercept transcripts, even the audio transcripts, are being released for publication by a politically hostile media,” Robertson said.

The judge handling the case, Sergio Moro, apologized in March for having released intercepts of phone conversations between Lula and his successor, Dilma Rousseff.

Moro, a self-described “attack judge,” has gained prominence in Brazil for overseeing the investigation into the massive graft scheme at state oil company Petrobras, a $2 billion scandal that has ensnared top company executives and dozens of politicians from all major parties.

The magistrate accuses Lula of involvement in the corruption at Petrobras, charges the former president flatly denies.

“It is very important to fight corruption but only if it is fought fairly,” Robertson said Thursday after acknowledging Moro’s reputation.

“This case will expose the problem of pre-trial detention in Brazil and the problem of wrongful convictions based on confessions by suspects who just want to get out of prison,” the lawyer said in regard to the ability of Brazilian judges to order defendants held indefinitely before trial.

The approach to the UN Human Rights Council comes amid rumors that Moro will order Lula’s arrest before the Aug. 5 start of the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

The 70-year-old Lula, who played a major role in the bringing the Games to Brazil, announced earlier this week that he would not take part in the inaugural ceremony.

Also planning to skip the event is Rousseff, who was suspended in May pending a trial in the Senate on removing her from office on accusations she manipulated budget figures to minimize the size of the deficit.

  • Published in World

Brazil’s Lula Plans 2018 Presidential Bid

Lula revealed his intentions during a statement provided to the Federal Police on March 4, when he was detained and taken to a police station as part of the Petrobras case.

SAO PAULO – Former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva told police investigating his possible involvement in a corruption scandal centered on state oil company Petrobras that he plans to compete in Brazil’s 2018 presidential election, according to a leaked transcript that surfaced Monday.

“Everything they’re doing with me is going to make me change my mind. I’m an old man, I was wanting to rest, (but) I’m going to be a candidate for president in 2018 because I think that many people are provoking me, they’re going to keep provoking from here on out,” said Lula.

Lula revealed his intentions during a statement provided to the Federal Police on March 4, when he was detained and taken to a police station as part of the Petrobras case.

The founder of Brazil’s governing Workers Party, or PT, is the subject of two separate – but overlapping – investigations by prosecutors who say that Lula and his wife, Marisa Leticia Lula da Silva, are the real owners of a beachfront triplex apartment in the seaside resort of Guaruja, near Sao Paulo city.

The listed owner of the property is construction firm OAS, one of the companies whose executives have been convicted of paying bribes for inflated Petrobras contracts.

Lula, who once again denied owning the Guaruja residence in his statement to police, said that the investigation is a “dirty trick” concocted by the Federal Police and confessed that he was “very angry” over the “lack of respect” demonstrated for him.

“I hope that when this is over someone apologizes to me. Someone should say: I’m sorry, for God’s sake. It was a mistake,” Lula told the police.

The former president, who governed Brazil from Jan. 1, 2003, to Dec. 31, 2010, accused the media of “scaring” the police, prosecutors and the Supreme Court with his titles.

On Sunday, the government of Lula’s successor and political protege, Dilma Rousseff, was the target of the greatest popular mobilization in the country’s history, bringing more than 3.5 million people into the streets in more than 100 cities around Brazil, according to police estimates.

The demonstrators demanded Rousseff’s resignation, shouted slogans against corruption and protested against Lula, who remains a major force in Brazilian politics.

  • Published in World
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