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News > Brazil

Brazil Supreme Court Allows Lula to Give Interviews from Prison

  • Brazilians demonstrate to demand Lula's freedom in Curitiba, Brazil, April 7, 2019.

    Brazilians demonstrate to demand Lula's freedom in Curitiba, Brazil, April 7, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 19 April 2019

The leftist political prisoner and former Brazilian president, Lula da Silva, was banned from giving interviews on grounds his view could alter the 2018 elections.

The current President of the Supreme Federal Court (STF) Antonio Dias Toffoli is allowing former President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva can provide media interviews.

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Lula's right to speak to the press was barred in September 2018 by Supreme Court Judge Luiz Fux who suspended the political prisoner's ability to give interviews that had been previously granted by former STF Justice Ricardo Lewandowski. Since then, Toffoli had maintained Lula's inaccess to reporters, but changed his mind Thursday.

Brazilian journalists Florestan Fernandes and Carla Jimenez broke the news Thursday and supported the decision to give back the 2018 presidential candidate's freedom of speech from jail.

"On two occasions, in September and October 2018, the right (to give interviews) was conferred through Judge Lewandowski’s orders and was twice denied by Judges Luiz Fux and Antonio Dias Toffoli,” Fernandes said. The journalist explained that “at the time, (the judges) alleged that Lula's interview could confuse the electoral process by leading voters to believe that Lula would be a candidate."

"On April 19, 1980, in the context of the Brazilian military regime, Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva and 10 Paulistas strike leaders were arrested and accused of violating the National Security Law."

"Last September, Fux decided that (Brazilian news outlet) Folha was prohibited from interviewing Lula. Moreover, if the interview had taken place Folha had been forbidden to publish it. That was prior restraint, which is prohibited by the Constitution," the director of "Democracy in Vertige" Petra Costa stated.

The decision also marks the date, April 19, when the Workers' Party ​​​​​​​leader had been arrested by the military dictatorship 29 years prior and analysts are celebrating the partial restitution of Lula's rights.

"In a democracy, we must defend freedom of expression and freedom of press for all citizens. We cannot defend our freedom and celebrate when rights are denied to others, which would be an authoritarian and incoherent behavior, typical of the 'ocassional' democrats," said Kennedy Alencar, a Brazilian blogger.

According to local media, Monica Bergamo from El Pais newspaper and Fernandes from Falha will be the first two journalists to have access to Lula Da Silva since he was detained in Curitiba's Federal Police headquarters on April 7, 2018.

Lula, whose legal procedural rights have been violated several times since he was imprisoned, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for alleged corruption.

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