The former president occupies from Saturday night a cell in Curitiba. Before beginning to pay his sentence for passive corruption, he criticized the justice and the political class of Brazil. Will he be free soon?
The exmandatario surrendered to the justice in the afternoon of last Saturday. / AFP
The most popular Brazilian president of all times rested calmly on his first night in the 15-square-meter cell room he arrived on Saturday. In this place, specially adapted for Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva -according to his implacable accuser, Judge Sergio Moro-, He began to pay the 12-year sentence imposed on him for passive corruption. Apparently, Lula would have renovated his beach apartment with a million dollars that would have given him one of the companies that were part of the largest corruption network in Brazil.
Before surrendering to the authorities, after two days of negotiations, the exmandatario criticized hard judges and authorities of his country. He said that the prosecutors, Judge Moro and the Federal Police, in addition to the media, were the guilty parties. “They are the real criminals, orchestrated an accusation without evidence and they have created an almost warlike climate “, he pointed. He accused them of having anticipated the death of his wife, Marisa Leticia, who died of cancer in the midst of testaferrato and corruption investigations. And he sentenced: “I will never forgive them for leaving me as a thief (…) I may be living the greatest moment of humiliation that a human being could have lived.”
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But the worst days have not passed. Once Lula entered prison, the judges began to move six other cases to which it is linked, the majority for corruption. A storm is looming for the favorite to win the presidential election on October 7. The famous thirteenth federal judge of the city of Curitiba, Sergio Moro, accepted that he is already working on another case against the former president: having received from the construction company Odebrecht, also benefited from the detours at Petrobras, a plot of land in the city of São Paulo in which would be the headquarters of the Lula Institute.
The Tenth Federal Court of Brasilia has four other trials: one was accused of having tried buy the silence of Néstor Cerveró, a former senior Petrobras official who is imprisoned for his responsibility in the scandal, so as not to implicate him in the corruption. In another, he was charged for allegedly facilitating the financing of works of Odebrecht in Angola through the National Bank of Economic and Social Development (BNDES). In the third, he was accused of receiving bribes through a supposedly fictitious contract for 2.5 million reais (about US $ 757,000) that benefited the company of one of his children, in exchange for extending a decree granting tax incentives to manufacturers of vehicles. And in the last one it was imputed for supposedly having favored the Swedish aeronautical company Saab in a billionaire contract for the acquisition of 36 fighter-bombers for the Brazilian Air Force.
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The Office of the Prosecutor investigates two other accusations against the former president that can also become new processes, one of which is accused of leading a “criminal organization” set up by the Workers’ Party (PT) to benefit from public contracts. In the other investigation, she was accused of obstruction of justice because of the alleged pressure she made for the then president Dilma Rousseff, his political goddaughter, he appointed Minister of the Presidency in an attempt to obtain the privileged privilege and transfer all their processes to the Supreme Court, where the procedures are slower.
Pressure and freedom
A few meters away from the jail of the former president, a camp was built which, according to the near thousand people who remain there, will last until Lula “is free”. The barracks was inaugurated on Sunday morning, after the arrival of caravans of buses from cities near Curitiba and the neighboring state of Santa Catarina.
The camp awaits the arrival on Monday of more than 30 buses from different parts of Brazil loaded with supporters of the turner who became president and myth of the Latin American left. Even the visit of international leaders is expected. Its objective is to resist until the freedom of its leader is conquered, because “in this country everything works with pressure,” says Roberto Baggio, coordinator of the Movement of Rural Landless Workers (MST) in the state of Paraná.
A freedom that could come soon if, as expected, the Supreme Court, the same that took him to prison, discusses an appeal that modifies the rule that authorizes the imprisonment of people convicted at second instance who still have judicial resources.
A judge of the Supreme Federal Court (STF), Marco Aurélio Mello, announced that next Wednesday will ask to include in the agenda a new debate that could settle the internal differences that persist in the Court on the subject. The jurisprudence that authorizes imprisonment after conviction in the second instance was adopted in 2016.
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If the jurisprudence is modified, all the convicts in second instance currently detained should benefit from the measure and go and wait in their homes for the results of their appeals before the STJ or the STF. Unless it has been decreed against them preventive detention because of its danger, risk of flight or interfering with the processes.
But nothing is clear yet and the entire legal framework surrounding Lula’s case can complicate his future. The Workers’ Party is already thinking about Plan B for the elections, since the discussion in the Court could be suspended indefinitely if one of the 11 judges asks for more time to study the matter.
“There is a conflict within the Supreme Court between those who want to discuss the matter in general and those who oppose it,” Thomaz Pereira, a law professor at the Getúlio Vargas Foundation (FGV) of Rio de Janeiro, told AFP. So the worst days for Lula are still to come.