Brazil's top court rules against da Silva on prison

Katrina Barker
April 6, 2018

Authorities in several cities braced for demonstrations for and against the ex-president, who leads in presidential election polls.

On the eve of the session, the country's army commander raised eyebrows - and was widely celebrated and condemned online - with tweets subtly supporting da Silva's incarceration.

Da Silva has always maintained his innocence, saying this case as well as several other corruption charges that have yet to be tried are attempts to keep him off the presidential ballot.

"A penal system that doesn't work with minimal effectiveness leads to an instinct for taking justice into one's own hands", Mr Barroso said in voting against Mr da Silva.

The popular 72-year-old politician, who is leading in all opinion polls ahead of the October presidential elections, was convicted of money laundering and passive corruption last July. The three reviewing magistrates even lengthened the sentence to 12 years and one month.

A former metalworker and trade union activist, he was the first left-wing leader to make it to the presidency in Brazil in almost half a century.

Brazil's former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva wipes sweat from his face during his presidential campaign rally with members of his Workers Party and leaders of other left-wing parties in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday, April 2, 2018.

The final decision on imprisonment, including the choice of jail, is likely to come before Moro on Monday, and the trial judge's track record in Brazil's infamous Car Wash corruption probe does not bode well for Lula.

The debate at the Supreme Federal Tribunal underscored how fraught the matter is at a time of high tension and angst in Brazil.

Last year, Temer was twice charged with corruption but remained in office because in both cases Congress, which must vote on criminal cases involving a sitting president, made a decision to spare him prosecution.

In a 6-5 decision, the Supreme Federal Tribunal rejected da Silva's request to remain free while he appeals a 12-year prison sentence for corruption.

Lula was convicted in 2017 of corruption for receiving roughly US$755,000 in bribes from construction company "OAS" in an apartment swap, where a simple flat bought by Lula was traded for a seaside apartment in the same building.

The decision as to whether Lula can stand for president will rest with the Superior Electoral Court (TSE). It was expected to deny da Silva's candidacy under Brazil's "clean slate" law, which disqualifies people who have had criminal convictions upheld.

"People want to be close to President Lula after this injustice", he said.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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