A manifesto signed by 464 Brazilian jurists calls for the release of former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who has been held as a political prisoner since April 7, 2018, after being sentenced on the second instance for passive corruption and money laundering without any evidence against him.
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The document is addressed to the ministers of the Fifth Panel of the Superior Court of Justice (STJ), Felix Fischer, Jorge Mussi, Reynaldo Soares da Fonseca and Ribeiro Dantas. In the text, jurists point out that Lula is a victim of injustice and violence practiced by the state.
"Former President Lula, or any other Brazilian citizen, can only be convicted, losing his property and freedom, 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 the case of Lula," the jurists' manifesto states and comments that he "lives in a calvary not experienced by any Brazilian politician before."
The manifesto was signed by Brazilian public figures such as Pedro Serrano, Gisele Cittadino, Lenio Streck, Dalmo Dallari, Fábio Konder Comparato, Carol Proner and Antônio Carlos de Almeida Castro.
According to the signatories, Lula was the first Brazilian president who had a working class background and “unfortunately, such may be one of the reasons explaining his arrest."
“Lula built a consistent set of public policies aimed at including the most disadvantaged Brazilians,” the 464 jurists indicate and recall that he “inaugurated a set of instruments, policies, rules and procedures aimed at fighting corruption at all government levels.”
The signatories argue that the fact that former President Lula is imprisoned accused of having appropriated public resources is absurd. For his actions have been well “known, observed and researched.”
"I never thought that putting a plate of food on a poor man's table would generate so much hatred in an elite who throws tons of food in the trash everyday."
"After leaving the Presidency, did he change his modest lifestyle? Where are the resources unduly appropriate? In which national or foreign banks are the full-of-dirty money accounts?," the 464 Brazilian lawyers ask and insist that “a condemnatory sentence is something terrible if it falls on an innocent person. There is no greater injustice than that one represented by an illegal decision over any citizen.”
They also stress that 'Brazil needs to rebuild its political life within democracy and [Lula’s imprisonment] constitutes an authoritarian stain, which is incompatible with respect for the opposition's role in a society committed to political freedom”.
Since April 7, 2018, Lula has been confined in Curitiba, the capital of the southern state of Parana, for alleged acts of corruption. The former metalworker was also undluly subjected to a second conviction in February 2019, which was related to the Lava Jato operation.