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  • While lawmakers were rescuing their colleagues from prison, the police violently evicted hundreds of demonstrators protesting against corruption outside the regional Congress.

    While lawmakers were rescuing their colleagues from prison, the police violently evicted hundreds of demonstrators protesting against corruption outside the regional Congress. | Photo: EFE

Published 17 November 2017

During the debate, lawmaker Andre Lazaroni, secretary of Picciani, said: “No one is a saint is this country. If we were saints, we would not be here.”

Rio de Janeiro legislators have approved a measure releasing three of their Brazilian colleagues from prison after a federal court arrested them on charges of corruption, criminal organization, money laundering and tax evasion.

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The lawmakers who will benefit are Paulo Melo, Edson Albertassi and the President of Rio de Janeiro's Legislative Assembly Jorge Picciani — also governor of the state of Rio de Janeiro, and father of current Transport Minister Leonardo Picciani.

They all belong to the governing party of the Brazilian Democratic Movement, or PMDB, led by Interim President Michel Temer.

The plenary of the Legislative Assembly approved the measure on Friday in an extraordinary session with a landslide majority.

During the debate, lawmaker Andre Lazaroni, secretary of Picciani, said: “No one is a saint is this country. If we were saints, we would not be here.”

The move comes one month after the national Congress allowed senator Aecio Neves — also involved in a corruption investigation — to return to office, paving the way for the so-called “Aecio doctrine.”

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Brazil's President Temer Escapes More Charges as Committee Votes in His Favor

In Rio de Janeiro, the three lawmakers are accused of being part of a huge and powerful corruption ring which has been embezzling Pubic Transport funds.

Former governor of Rio's state, Sergio Cabral, allegedly initiated the complex network in the 1990s until Picciani took over his position.

President Temer successfully avoided facing trial for corruption less than a month ago, after the lower house of Congress voted against taking judicial action. The charges originated from a corruption case involving the world's largest meat-packing firm, JBL. 

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