Brazil’s former president Luis Inacio Da Silva – popularly known as Lula – has been sentenced to nine and a half years in prison for his alleged involvement in the Petrobras corruption scandal.
According to reports, Lula – under whose tenure Petrobras produced first oil from the pre-salt layer offshore Brazil in 2008 – has been sentenced for receiving a seaside apartment from an engineering and construction company OAS, in exchange for helping the company win contracts with Petrobras.
According to O’Globo, Judge Sergio Moro who sentenced Lula, did not ask for his arrest, and he will remain free while appealing to the sentence.
Lula’s lawyers Cristiano Zanin Martins and Valeska Teixeira Zanin Martins have slammed the judgement, accusing the judge of political „lawfare.“
“President Lula is innocent. For over three years, Lula has been subject to a politically motivated investigation. No credible evidence of guilt has been produced, and overwhelming proof of his innocence blatantly ignored. This politically motivated judgement attacks Brazil’s rule of law, democracy and Lula’s basic human rights. It is of immense concern to the Brazilian people and to the international community,” they said in a statement.
“Judge Moro made his bias and political motivation clear from the beginning to the end of the process. His judgement has shamed Brazil by ignoring overwhelming evidence of innocence and succumbing to political bias whilst overseeing continual breaches of basic human rights and the legal process. The judgement proves what we have argued all along – that Judge Moro and the Car Wash prosecution have been driven by politics rather than law.
“President Lula has been subject to lawfare, the use of law for political aims, famously used to brutal effect in dictatorships throughout history. This politically motivated and biased judgement illustrates how President Lula’s domestic legal remedies have been exhausted and why it has been necessary to refer this case to the United Nations Human Rights Committee in Geneva,” the lawyers said.
Lula, who even has an oilfield named after him 250 kilometres (160 mi) off the coast of Rio de Janeiro, has been working to return to politics and is (was?) expected to run for president in the 2018 election.
His supporters allege that the persecution and the sentence this week are a strategy to prevent his candidacy next year.
Lula, who was the president of Brazil from 2003 to 2011, has received support from Dilma Rousseff, a recently impeached Brazilian president who had taken his place in the office after his tenure expired in January 2011.
She said:”The conviction of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, without proof, to 9 years and six months of imprisonment, is a mockery, a flagrant injustice and a legal absurdity that embarrass Brazil.”