Friday, September 29, 2023

Brazil’s federal court called Lula’s detention “one of the country’s gravest judicial errors”

Brazil’s Supreme Court (TSF) annulled all evidence obtained by Odebrecht executives as collaborators in the Lava Jato case as “illegal” and called Lula’s imprisonment “a historical error”.

The TSF judge responsible for the case, Antônio Dias Toffoli, reiterated in his ruling that the incarceration of the current president was “one of the greatest judicial errors in the history” of the country.

The country’s highest court accepted a motion by President Lula’s defense to annul the testimonies obtained from the cooperation agreement with the Odebrecht company, believing they had been illegally obtained from former judge Sergio Moro.

Lula, leader of the Labor Party (PT) and president between 2003 and 2010, was arrested in July 2017 and spent 580 days in prison. He was convicted of corruption and money laundering in a later-annulled trial based in part on evidence presented to Odebrecht.

The agreement also included paying a $2.6 billion fine to the United States, Switzerland and Brazil.

Moro, now a senator, became former President Jair Bolsonaro’s justice secretary following his decision and capitalized on Lula’s arrest as he emerged as the favorite candidate for a third term.

The verdict describes these testimonies as “inapplicable” and not without evidence in any jurisdiction because they were obtained through illegal methods of “psychological torture”, the aim of which was, among other things, to obtain false evidence against innocent people.

The agreements signed in 2017 must now go back to the trial judges for review.

The judge found there was no due process and compared the incident to the torture used by the military dictatorship against the political prisoners.

At the Latin American giant, Odebrecht was accused by the prosecutor of having participated in a network of bribes and manipulated contracts with the state-owned company Petrobras along with other companies, politicians and intermediaries.

The network, uncovered by the 2014 investigation dubbed Lava Jato, has become one of the country’s biggest corruption scandals.

The allegations against the company went beyond Brazil, as testimonies from company executives allowed the opening of court cases in other Latin American and African countries.

Corruption allegations have been showered on dozens of prominent politicians, including several former presidents, many of whom remain in prison.

Judge Dias Toffoli, in his ruling, denounced “the serious consequences” of evidence obtained “on the fringes of the law” for hundreds of people who are under investigation or prosecution in Brazil and abroad.

The judge has been a member of the Supreme Court since 2009, when he was appointed by then-President Lula in his second term.

After 18 months in prison, Lula’s sentence was overturned by another Supreme Court Justice in March 2021. Three months later, former first instance judge Sergio Moro, who had sentenced Lula to prison, was declared “partial” by the Supreme Court.

Justice Minister Flávio Dino stressed in a message on the X network (formerly Twitter) that the judge’s decision “confirms President Lula’s innocence”.

The Union Attorney General, who represents the government’s interests, announced on Wednesday the creation of a group to investigate the actions of former judge Moro and prosecutors in the Lava Jato case.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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