Former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio "Lula" da Silva (2003-2010) has heavily criticized the judges who sentenced him to prison for corruption on the first anniversary of his wife, Marisa Rocco’s, death.
"There are people, who act more like representatives of political parties rather than as representatives of the judicial power,” said Lula. In January three judges ratified and increased the former president’s prison sentence from nine to 12 years for passive corruption and money laundering charges.
International and local groups have widely questioned the judicial decision. Lula´s supporters have also questioned the judgment, and its timing with many claiming it was a political move to keep him from participating in this year’s presidential elections.
“I want them to know that if you voted with hate, you voted against a man who is at peace, who is conscious of what’s happening in Brazil,” Lula claimed.
So far Lula has received the vocal support of many political leaders, social organizations, and artists in Brazil and around the world. Most notably, Uruguay’s former president and guerrilla leader Pepe Mujica, who, on Jan. 24, told EFE news the decision was part of a “fierce political and judicial persecution to prevent his candidacy for the presidency.”
In spite of his conviction, Lula continues leading the polls. However, in the coming months, he could be declared unfit to run and jailed.
The solemn act in honor of Lula’s late wife, took place in the headquarter of the Metalworkers’ Union of Sao Bernardo do Campo, in the Sao Paulo metropolitan region, where the Lula’s Workers Party was created in 1980.
During his speech, Lula also expressed his will to remain in Brazil’s presidential race. “Marisa is saying to my ear: Lift your head and fight! Because the Brazilian people will win once more,” he said emotionally shaken.