Brazil : Decision to Jail Lula is a Travesty of Justice

The 5 April decision to allow the imprisonment of former Brazilian President Lula is the latest in a series of abuses of his legal rights.

“Lula was found guilty by a lower court on the basis of no evidence, something that the lower court judges themselves have admitted. Now, with the military threatening to intervene, Supreme Court judges have, by the narrowest of margins, again bowed to powerful business interests which want to undo forever Lula’s achievements in fighting poverty and inequality in Brazil. Lula is Brazil’s most popular politician by a huge margin, and the judicial persecution of him is aimed at stopping him becoming President again,” said ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow.

Lula’s lawyers have taken his case to the UN Human Rights Council, pointing to the blatant bias of judges and prosecutors and asking the Council to recognise that “the regional court which found him guilty, Judge Sergio Moro and the “Car Wash” Federal Prosecutors have violated Lula’s rights to privacy, right to a fair trial, freedom from arbitrary arrest, the right to freedom of movement and right to be presumed innocent until found guilty. Previous evidence submitted to the UNHRC focused on the leaking of confidential material to the media, the unlawful issue of a bench warrant, illegal disclosure of telephone intercepts, use of indeterminate pre-trial detention against “Car Wash” suspects, obtaining plea bargains and numerous examples of the prosecutors and Judge Moro’s pronounced bias against Lula.”

“The collusion between elements of the judiciary, oligarchs who built fortunes under the military dictatorship, military commanders and extreme right-wing forces including armed militias is a severe threat to democracy itself in Latin America’s largest country. The international trade union movement stands in absolute solidarity with our Brazilian colleagues and will assist in every way we can their quest to defend democracy and reinstate the rule of law,” said Burrow.