Brazil: Lula Released, Judicial System Remains on Trial

The ITUC has welcomed the release of former Brazilian President Lula from prison and called for the judicial persecution against him and other progressive politicians to end. Lula was released after 580 days in prison when the country’s Supreme Court decided to respect the Constitution by cancelling imprisonment before all appeals are exhausted.

“It is a great relief that Lula is able to rejoin his family, friends and supporters and the international trade union movement will continue to stand with him in getting the sham convictions against him thrown out. His imprisonment paved the way for the election of extreme-right President Jair Bolsonaro, whose rule is having catastrophic impacts on Brazil’s people and its patrimony,” said ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow.

Following his release, Lula attacked the policies of Bolsonaro, saying that “people are hungrier, have no jobs and work for Uber or delivering pizzas on a bike.” He also pointed to the “rotten side of the judicial system.”

The persecution of Lula has been led by former judge Sergio Moro, who has been appointed Justice Minister in Bolsonaro’s government. Attention is now focused on Moro’s secret collusion with prosecutors in the quest to stop Lula, Brazil’s most popular politician, from standing for election in 2018.

On 21 October, a Supreme Court Justice refused an attempt by prosecutors to imprison Dilma Rousseff, who succeeded Lula as President and leader of the Worker’s Party.

“Powerful oligarchs have turned Brazil’s legal system into a tool of right-wing politics, turning back the clock on the huge gains made by Lula’s government and impoverishing millions. The rule of law has been twisted to breaking point, and must be restored,” said Burrow.

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