Lastword

Former Brazilian President Lula da Silva allowed reduced prison term

Supporters of Lula da Silva gathered outside his prison in Curitiba.

Online Agencies
A Brazil special court of supreme judges ruled Tuesday to reduce the sentence of former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, from 12 years and 10 months to eight years and 10 months, which would potentially allow his defense to file for moving him to house arrest.
The investigating judge of the appeal of the sentence against former Brazilian president Felix Fischer, of the Superior Court of Justice (STJ), rejected all the appeals for the release and annulment of the sentence but agreed to reduce it to 8 years and 10 months in prison. two other judges also ruled in a similar fashion allowing the reaction of the sentence to go through.
With this decision, Lula could be moved from state prison to a “semi-open prison” like house arrest within three months.
In his vote, Fischer denied the preliminary requests made by the defense, such as the request for the case to be forwarded to electoral justice.
During his vote at the special session, Judge Jorge Mussi, who asked for reducing Lula’s sentence to 8 years and 10 months, said that any ruling should not be a consequence of external pressures and its duration must be reasonable and agree with the person’s conditions.
In the specific case of the leftist former Brazilian president, Mussi claimed that the Porto Alegre Federal Court’s maximum penalty ruling was “an exaggeration”, as Esmael Morais, a political local blogger, reported.
As the STJ meeting was broadcast live by local media, Brazilian citizens expressed their opinions through social networks.
“Free Lula is a cause against the [current Brazilian] government whose role, which was dictated by Bolsonaro himself, to destroy everything previously done in this country in relation to education, social security, health, work, order, and ethics,” Hugo Oliveira said on Twitter.
“The evidence that Lula transformed Brazil is everywhere. The evidence of his alleged crimes does not exist,” another citizen pointed out.
“Lula is not a man but a cause. They are building a myth and against a myth you cannot fight. Force Lula!,” Pepe Mujica, Uruguay’s former president, stressed.
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 a Federal judge and is now President Jair Bolsonaro’s Justice Minister.
Prosecutors alleged that Lula owns a three-floor luxury apartment at the Guaruja beach that was renovated at a cost of US$1.1 million, money which allegedly the leftist former president received in return for help securing contracts with Petrobras, the Brazilian state-run oil company.
In response to the development the leader of the PT in the House, Paulo Pimenta, said that the reduction of the sentence for former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva by the Superior Court of Justice (STJ) should not be celebrated and that the party continues defending the thesis of ending the process. “It’s not something to be celebrated. The only question is the recognition of the exaggerated penalty, which reinforces our argument about the political issues of this process – said Pimenta. He believes that the defense must now push the Federal Supreme Court (STF) to address constitutional issues.
We Will Win
The imprisoned former President of Brazil and one of the most revered leftist leaders in South America, Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, penned a letter to his supporters on the first anniversary of his imprisonment.
The Workers’ Party (PT) leader wrote that he was imprisoned “for the crime of dedicating a lifetime to building a more just, developed and sovereign Brazil.”
“They have never produced one piece of evidence against me.. Separated from the Brazilian people, my family, and my dearest friends. Forbidden to give an interview, prevented from speaking and being heard,” Lula wrote.
According to Lula, his captors thought that his imprisonment would silence his voice, it did not. Now his voice has resonated through “millions of voices.”
“We have suffered repeated setbacks since the coup against President Dilma, it is true. But our defeats strengthen us for the fight, while their victories do not give them a minute of peace.”
The leader said that the present administration under far-right President Jair Bolsonaro is getting richer but their fortunes are guaranteed “at the expense of the suffering of millions of Brazilians” but that does not provide them happiness. Instead, they are becoming “more angry and unhappy, poisoned by the very hatred they distill.”
He mentioned how during the funeral of his grandson Arthur, repressive actions were taken against him. He was heavily guarded and immediately after the funeral, he was snatched away from his grieving family and sent back to prison.
He realized then that the authority is afraid and not because of him, but because of the millions of people that are unified – for “they know what we are capable of when we unite to transform this country.”
In conclusion, Lula wrote, “we are alive and strong. Together, let’s reverse each setback, each step back on the hard journey towards Brazil that we dream and that we prove to be possible to build. We will win.”
He was arrested on April 7 of last year, prior to the country’s presidential election in 2018, which saw the victory of far-right Jair Bolsonaro.
Lula was arrested after being convicted in the Lava Jato corruption case by a Federal Regional Court. He is internationally recognized as a political prisoner. He has maintained his stance of innocence and determined to prove the same.
Programs and protests have been organized worldwide to commemorate the anniversary and demand the release of Lula.
A politically motivated trial
Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva sent a strong message from his cell in Curitiba on Tuesday through his lawyer, Emidio de Souza after learning a supreme court ruling reduced his sentence from 12 years and 10 months to eight years and 10 months.
“A reduced sentence is not fair for a man who committed no crime,” Lula said, adding that this is just another chapter in a politically motivated trial. 
The former president also stated that he does not expect anything positive to come out of the trial, as he considers it part of “the farce that was staged starting the investigation which continued in the accusation, first and second instance.”
On Tuesday, a Supreme Court of Justice (STJ) judge rejected all the appeals presented for the release of Lula and the annulment of the sentence but agreed to reduce it to eight years and 10 months. Two other judges also ruled in a similar fashion allowing the ruling of the sentence to go through. 
Transmitting Lula’s message, his lawyer said that “it was not a coincidence that all the judges acted in the same way. They already had an arrangement, as they had in the TRF-4 (second instance).” Meanwhile, he added, Lula continues to wait for a just trial “that respects the laws, the Constitution and the facts.” 
And while this decision would mean that Lula could be moved from state prison to a “semi-open prison,” like a house arrest situation within three months. His lawyer warned that this reduction might not represent a real advance. “The decision will have no effect if a federal court rushes, as it did last year, to condemn Lula in another process,” De Souza explained.
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 a Federal judge and is now President Jair Bolsonaro’s Justice Minister.
Prosecutors alleged that Lula owns a three-floor luxury apartment at the Guaruja beach that was renovated at a cost of US$1.1 million, money which allegedly came in return to help secure contracts with Petrobras, the Brazilian state-run oil company. 
However, no substantial proof has ever been presented against Lula, for which many have denounced his imprisonment as part of a “lawfare” strategy.

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