BRAZIL JUSTICE SCRAPS LULA’S SENTENCES, ENABLING HIM TO RUN IN 2022
A judge at the Supreme Court of Brazil has annulled the convictions of former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the court announced on Monday (Tuesday, March 9, 2021, in Manila), Mauricio Savarese and David Biller reported for the Associated Press (AP).
The Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) also reported the decision means the popular leftist 75-year-old Lula will be able to run in the elections set to take place next year.
Lula, a popular left-wing politician who was head of state from 2003 to 2011, was handed a prison sentence in 2018 by then-judge, now justice minister, Sergio Moro for corruption and money laundering.
As a result, he could not take part in presidential elections despite a lead in the polls, paving the way for right-wing populist Jair Bolsonaro to enter the presidential palace. Lula was released from prison in 2019 after 580 days.
Judge Edson Fachin concluded that the lower court in the city of Curitiba had been incompetent in its decision because the allegations against Lula were not directly related to the anti-corruption operation "Lava Jato."
The decision also laid bare the country’s political divisions, with leftists celebrating their leader’s return to the political arena as conservatives said the rulings were tantamount to impunity.
Others saw the ruling, based on procedural grounds, as an attempt to preserve a vast but embattled corruption investigation that has led to numerous convictions of powerful businessmen and politicians but that has been accused of impropriety.
The decision by Justice Luiz Edson Fachin drew no conclusions about the mammoth “Car Wash” investigation centered on state-run giant Petrobras, from which the da Silva probes emerged.
It said, instead, that the federal court in the Southern city of Curitiba, which convicted da Silva twice of corruption and money laundering, didn’t have jurisdiction to put the leftist leader on trial.