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Brazilian former President Lula Da Silva could be moved to house arrest if four judges agree to reduce his sentence.
Brazil’s Supreme Court of Justice (STJ) were set to issue a rulling Tuesday on an appeal presented by the defense of former President Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva to review the conviction in the “Guaruja apartment” case, which will be put to trial by a special court involving four justices Felix Fischer, Jorge Mussi, Reynaldo Soares da Fonseca and Ribeiro Dantas.
Last year Lula was sentenced by a Porto Alegre’s Federal Court to 12 years in prison for alleged corruption and money laundering by Judge Sergio Moro, who was the a Federal judge and is now President Jair Bolsonaro’s Justice Minister.
“He was arrested to be barred from competing in a presidential election that he would have won in the first round and, therefore, is considered a political prisoner by Brazil's greatest jurists and intellectuals,” local media Brasil 247 argued.
Prosecutors alledged that Lula owns a three-floor luxury apartment at the Guaruja beach that was renovated at a cost of US$ 1.1 million, a money which allegedly the leftist former president received in return for help securing contracts with petrobras, the Brazilian state-run oil company.
"All the evidence of Lula's innocence was ignored by former judge Sergio Moro, who logically had an eye on the Bolsonaro's Ministry... That was the only reason to condemn him!!! Brazil and the World demand justice!!! Free Lula." The Minister Moro's photo reads "Audit says Lula is innocent. The audit company reported that it has not found any Petrobras' irregularity linked to former President Lula."
According to journalist Mariana Schreiber’s analysis, today’s STJ decision could bring about three possible scenarios. Lula's defense has denied the allegations and maintained that there is a number of procedural illegalities in the case. If the majority of the special panel agrees with these arguments, the process can be annulled, which would allow Lula to be released immediately.
Another possibility is that the court may reduce his sentence. This scenario could lead to replacing Lula’s imprisonment for either home arrest or "semi-open arrest," which means that he may leave prison during the day.
Finally, Lula will remain in jail if the four-member STJ panel reaffirms the conviction. Nevertheless, the case’s final decision will still depend on the Federal Supreme Court, where Lula's defense filed a new habeas corpus petition.
The whole situation, however, could get more complicated. Lula’s lawyer Cristiano Zanin told local media that he was surprised by the judgment of his client's appeal on Tuesday. "There was a press release Monday at night. This does not seem appropriate in the face of the constitutional guarantee of the broad defense and our professional prerogatives," Zanin said.
“Based on the ‘non-surprise principle’ which is one of the pillars of a broad defense, Zanin may request a delay of the the examination of the appeal that asks for Lula's freedom,” Brazilian lawyer Esmael Morais wrote on his blog reacting to the news.
Accordingly, former President Lula's defence filed a motion to postpone Tuesday's final judgement on the latest petion in order to give more time for teh defense to prepeare for the hearing and reduce teh chances of a possible rejection.
"The STJ is rushing to make a ruling today because this would mark Lula's third appeal, which means that he would no longer be freed from a Supreme Court ruling in second appeals," teleSUR correspondent Brain Mier reported adding that "some legal analysts are saying that the STJ may throw out the money laundering charges against Lula because they never proved he had any money."