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  • Brazilians demonstrate to demand former President Lula da Silva's freedom in Sao Paulo, Brazil, April 7, 2019.

    Brazilians demonstrate to demand former President Lula da Silva's freedom in Sao Paulo, Brazil, April 7, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 17 April 2019

Emmanuel Maurel seeks to break the European Parliament's silence on the persecution against former President Lula Da Silva.

The French Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Emmanuel Maurel asked the Council of the European Union for a written position on the political and judicial persecution which led Lula Da Silva to prison.

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"One year ago, former President of Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva, was imprisoned after one of the most controversial trials in modern times," Maurel recalled and stressed that "there is no longer any doubt that his imprisonment was primarily a political strategy to remove him from power."

In the background of his request, MEP Maurel points out that no tangible, valid and verified evidence was ever presented by Judge Sergio Moro against the leader of the Brazilian workers.

"Do we need to remind ourselves that no tangible proof has been presented by the prosecution to support the first and second instance convictions for which he is now in prison? The facts put forward by the judiciary were actually based on other suspects' confessions which were not verified (but were rewarded). The new Justice Minister is none other than former judge Sergio Moro, who sentenced Lula and was promoted by Jair Bolsonaro."

"After a year of political imprisonment, Lula is still considered by most Brazilians as the best president Brazil has ever had," 48% of respondents said so, according to a Vox Populi poll carried out from April 1 to 3."

The French Socialist politician questions the European Parliament's silence given that "countless voices have been raised, on both the left and right, to speak out against this injustice, including six former heads of state of France, Italy, Spain and Belgium; 29 MEPs, a former European Parliament president and a host of international lawyers."

At the end of his petition, after stating some of the irregularities committed during the 'Lawfare on Lula,' Maurel pointed out that "this is why I am asking you today what is the position of the Council since it remained very quiet throughout this trial." Lawfare is a term used by progressive activists and commentators to describe the recent surge in right-wing persecution of former leftist and progressive presidents and politicians in Latin America.  

According to the European Parliament's rules, the EU Council has six weeks to respond to the demands of the MEPs.

Earlier this month, over 460 Brazilian jurists also demanded the release of Lula. In a document addressed to Superior Justice Court, they stated that "former President Lula, or any other Brazilian citizen, can only be convicted ... if the offense’s materiality is well-proven, the defense is largely guaranteed and all the due-process rules are guaranteed. This did not happen in his case."

Lula remains detained at the Curitiba's Federal Police headquarters since April 7, 2018, after receiving a 12-year sanction imposed by a regional court for alleged corruption acts. The leader of the Brazilian left was subjected in February 2019 to a second similar sanction in the Lava Jato anti-corruption case.

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