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Brazil: Social movements and lawyers mobilize in support of former President Lula

Social movements promised to engage in continuous public demonstrations in defense of the country’s former President.

Brasil de Fato |

Social movements in Brazilian city of Porto Alegre take to the streets to defend former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva / Cristina Ávila

Social movements in Brazilian city of Porto Alegre promised on Tuesday to engage in continuous public demonstrations in defense of the country’s former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, leading up to his trial, which is scheduled to take place on the 24th January 2018.

The political act on Tuesday included the participation of various leftist leaders from the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul such as representatives from the Unified Workers Central (CUT), the Federation of Petroleum Workers, Legal Associations along with other civil society organizations. 

“When I heard that his hearing was scheduled for the 24th of January, I realized that that they didn’t have complete consensus. If the three judges reached a unanimous agreement on Judge Moro’s ruling, then they wouldn’t have made the decision to hold the hearing so soon,” said lawyer Gisele Cittadino, a member of the Brazilian Front of Lawyers for Democracy. 

“This represents the consolidation of the previous stages of the coup. This stage seeks to suspend Lula from the electoral process of 2018. However, President Lula still has not been convicted and he can run as a candidate in the presidential election until 15th of august,” Cittadino added. 

However, Cittadino did not rule out the possibility of a guilty verdict. “Since we live in an unprecedented times we cannot rule anything out," Cittadino added. 

According to an audit of media coverage regarding the prosecution of former President Lula Da Silva, the research observed a “prejudicial alliance” between the mainstream media and the judicial proceedings. 

The study, which was carried out by Carol Proner, a Human Rights professor at the University Rio de Janeiro, stated, “this represents flagrant violations of the right to be presumed innocent until found guilty.” 

Proner’s study and comments coincide with a recent study carried out by Instituto Paraná Pesquisas, a market research firm, 42.7 percent of Brazilians agree that Lula is being persecuted by the media and the judiciary in an effort to remove him from the 2018 presidential race.

"The prosecution hasn’t presented any legal facts that can prove former President Lula has committed a crime. Moro lacked any legal basis to reach his ruling, and we have the right to know the reasons that Moro used to make his decision," Proner added. 

Meanwhile, since Lula da Silva’s first trial began in November 2016, several legal motions have been filed for alleged abuses of power by judge Sergio Moro.

Before the trial began, the former president repeatedly tried to have Moro removed, on the basis that he was prejudiced, however these motions were denied – mostly by Moro himself.

Meanwhile, lawyer José Carlos Moreira Filho, a member of the Brazilian Lawyers Front from Rio Grande do Sul, emphasized the importance of popular mobilization in order to restore democratic order. He went on to point out that large portions of Brazil’s legal community oppose the current conduct of certain legal officials. 

"Many members of the Brazilian legal community are ashamed of what is happening. And they do not agree with the handling of this case,” José Carlos Moreira Filho added. 

Lula da Silva is appealing a conviction for allegedly accepting US$1.1 million in bribes from construction company OAS to pay for a luxury beachside apartment in Guarujá, São Paulo state.

Edition: Vivian Fernandes