A Brazilian judge echoes Corbyn’s justice plea for former president Lula

Lula & Brazilian flag
Peadar O'Cearnaigh

Justice Gilmar Mendes, a Brazilian Supreme Court justice, believes former president Luiz Inácio ‘Lula’ da Silva deserves a retrial. Lula is serving 12 years in prison on corruption charges. He denies all charges.

And these charges are in even further doubt after allegations that the judge in Lula’s trial, Sérgio Moro, collaborated with the prosecution. Moro is now justice minister in president Jair Bolsonaro’s far-right government.

Calls for Lula’s release

UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has described Lula as the “world’s most prominent political prisoner”. He has also called on the Brazilian government to set Lula free. And other politicians are speaking out for Lula. US senator Bernie Sanders, for example, has called for Lula’s release and for the annulment of his sentence.

There’s also an international committee campaigning for a “fair and just trial” for Lula.

So Mendes is not alone in speaking out about Lula’s case. And his call comes after an extensive investigation by the Intercept into the case that led to Lula’s conviction revealed:

serious wrongdoing, unethical behavior, and systematic deceit about which the public, both in Brazil and internationally, has the right to know.

Tables turning?

The views of a Supreme Court justice like Mendes carry weight. So his comments might influence other judges on the Brazilian Supreme Court.

The court was to examine Moro’s impartiality. It has since postponed this. But if it does rule against Moro in the future, then Lula could be exonerated.

Shooting the messenger

Bolsonaro’s far-right government opposes anything that could give Lula back his freedom. In fact, it even attempted to investigate journalist Glenn Greenwald and the Intercept for its investigation into this case. But Mendes prevented this from happening, saying:

there are doubts about whether due process was followed in Lula’s trial and whether he was actually complicit in the huge corruption scheme.

Moro denies any wrongdoing.

Featured image via Flickr – PT – Partido dos Trabalhadores / Flickr – Adam Jones

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