Why we need Solidarity with former president Lula!

Tomorrow Lula da Silva will be tried on appeal on trumped-up charges. MARIANA NOVIELLO explains why we should be supporting him. (23/1/18)

 Over 150k have signed the petition “Elections without Lula is fraud”, amongst them legal professionals, academics, politicians, artists and union leaders across the world.

On 24th January, the case against the former president of Brazil, Lula da Silva, will be tried on appeal. Lula is currently well ahead in the polls for the presidential elections in October this year. If the appellate court decides to uphold the conviction, which is very likely, Lula will not be able to stand for re-election.

An average appeal to this 2nd tier court, the TRF4 in Porto Alegre, takes at least 70 days to be assessed. President Lula’s appeal was assessed in record time, 42 days, with the second judge only taking 6 days to make up his mind.

In addition, other cases were put aside so it would be heard as quickly as possible, raising suspicions that the timing has more to do with stopping Lula becoming a candidate. Brazil’s stock exchange is already commemorating in anticipation of 24th January. But what about his original trial and why do we contest it?

Former President Lula was accused of illegally receiving an apartment in a popular beach resort. The trial was not able to prove he is the owner. Indeed, the flat is still in the name of construction company OAS and has been given as security to a bank in exchange for financial investment.

This apartment was meant to be the fruit of a kickback related to three Petrobras contracts with construction company OAS. No links were found between the fraudulent contracts and President Lula’s actions or the flat. And yet President Lula was convicted and sentenced for over 9 years.

There are other problems with the trial. In Brazil’s inquisitive system, Judge Moro was the investigation judge AND also the trial judge which is why Geoffrey Robertson QC, the human rights lawyer, is taking Lula’s case to the UN.

Furthermore, Judge Moro did not convict Lula on the basis of the version provided by the Public Prosecutors. He agreed that no links could be found between Lula’s actions and the Petrobras contract, so instead Lula was convicted on the basis of ‘undetermined and unidentified’ illicit acts.

The judge ‘attributed’ the flat to Lula even though he did not specify what ‘attributing a property to someone’ involves. That is why many people across the world are defending Lula’s right to have a fair trial AND his right to stand in the next presidential elections!

On the 24th January there will be acts in support of President Lula in Porto Alegre, where the trial is taking place, and in many other cities in Brazil.

In the UK, members of Brazil’s Workers’ Party in London and people who care for democracy, the rule of law and human rights will be standing in solidarity with president Lula.

Please help us by signing the petition Elections without Lula is fraud or supporting our acts on 24th January.

Let the Brazilian people decide if they want Lula as their president and not the judiciary on trumped up charges!

 

This article was originally published by the Morning Star at: https://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/article/solidarity-former-president-lula

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