Lula must be released under the new rules of the Brazilian Justice System

08/11/2019

Lula da Silva

Luiz Inácio ‘Lula’ da Silva, pictured at the Shaping Change in Turbulent Times conference, co-hosted by the PES, December 2015

The Party of European Socialists calls for the immediate release of former president Luiz Inácio ‘Lula’ da Silva, after the decision of the Supreme Court of Brazil to re-interpret the constitutional rules regarding imprisonment before final appeal. Justices ruled that imprisonment before final appeal violates the Constitution.

PES President Sergei Stanishev said:

“This decision not only strengthens the legal guarantees for all Brazilians, it is also an opportunity to repair the great injustice inflicted on Lula, whose trial showed worrying signs of political interference and who was not only imprisoned but also banned from running in the last Brazilian election, which was compromised as a result. The PES contested his imprisonment on both grounds. He should now be immediately released.

“This is an important display of the independence of the judiciary – which is currently overseen by Justice Minister Sergio Moro, the very judge who sentenced Lula - and an important step to strengthen democracy in Brazil, currently under threat from a far-right government.”

Luiz Inácio da Silva was jailed in 2018 after being sentenced to more than 12 years in prison. Earlier this year, he was sentenced to a further 12 years on controversial charges of corruption. Lula, now 74, argues all the charges made against him are politically motivated.

He is a former trade union activist and remains an iconic and popular figure for the left in South America. Lula was favourite to win last year's presidential election, had he not been in prison.