For Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s defense attorneys, the former Brazilian president, who was sentenced to prison, became a long time ago a victim of what international studies define as lawfare.
Lawfare is the use of laws and legal procedures as a weapon of war to destroy political adversaries: in this case, the most influential popular leader in Brazil’s history, who, despite the ongoing and renovated attacks, leads all surveys on vote intention in the 2018 presidential election.
Long ago, Lula was defined as the number-one enemy to be erased from the national political scenario, said the defense attorneys for the founder of the Workers’ Party (PT) in one of the many press releases on the abuses committed against him as part of the anticorruption operation Lava Jato.
They noted that it is a sensationalist and scandalous process that annihilates the guarantee of presumption of innocence and constitutes a clear violation of the contradictory procedure and the full defense, also showing an evident abuse of power by Federal Judge Sergio Moro and the Lava Jato prosecutors.
Moro, Lula’s most tenacious persecutor, sentenced the former president to nine years and six months in prison for alleged crimes of passive corruption and money laundering.
According to the accusation by the Federal Public Ministry (FPM), the ex-president received 3.7 million reales (more than one million dollars) in ‘tips’ through the reform of an apartment whose property is attributed to him without proof to confirm it, and from the payment to store his assets.
Coincidentally, and perhaps to divert the attention, the sentence was pronounced the same day that the Justice and Citizenship Committee of the House of Deputies started analyzing the admissibility of charges of passive corruption submitted by the Attorney General’s Office against President Michel Temer.
Furthermore, as predicted months ago by the Brazilian sociologist and political scientist Emir Sader, even without proof of personal enrichment or making use of his post to get illegal advantages, Lula had to be accused, indicted, found guilty and sentenced.
‘In order to prevent that a democratic, popular, sovereign government takes office again in Brazil, it is necessary to get Lula out of the political life, regardless of the way used,’ Sader noted.
Moro’s evident persecution was denounced by Lula in July 2016 before the United Nations Human Rights Committee, where he charged that his rights were being violated by the practice of illegal acts ‘that cannot be satisfactorily corrected in Brazilian legislation.’
Months later, in late November, the defense attorneys for the ex-president filed a subsidiary penal accusation against Moro for abuse of authority.
The complaint filed by Cristiano Zanin and Roberto Teixeira underlined that the federal judge of Curitiba had committed several irregularities in the investigations involving the former president in the frame of operation Lava Jato.
Among them, they mentioned the coercive way in which Lula was taken to testify before the police, being deprived of his right to be released for about six hours; the confiscation of assets and documents belonging to the former president and his family, and the authorization and publication of illegally-tapped telephone conversations.
In May 2017, shortly after testifying for the first time before Sergio Moro in Curitiba, Lula told a crowd of supporters: ‘There will come the time when history will show that never before in Brazil someone was so persecuted and massacred like me.’
By Moises Perez Mok/Prensa Latina