The former Brazilian president, Luiz Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva – REUTERS / STRINGER. – Archive
The Supreme Court of Brazil has approved this Thursday to revoke a law that makes defendants go to prison after losing their first appeal, something that could mean the release of former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who has been in prison since 2018 for corruption charges.
The Supreme Court, which has 11 members, has approved the decision with 6 votes in favor and 5 against repealing the law that establishes that convicts begin to serve their sentences after losing their first appeal and, instead, they are allow exhausting the long appeals process before serving the prison sentence.
“By six votes to five, the Plenary of the Supreme Court considers that incarceration based solely on a criminal conviction can only be carried out after all the possibilities of appeal have been finalized,” said the Supreme through his account on the social network Twitter.
According to the National Council of Justice (CNJ), the Supreme ruling also affects Lula, about 4,800 prisoners, among others the main convicted of the largest corruption investigation in Brazilian history, known as the 'Lava Jato operation '.
Lula da Silva is serving a twelve-year prison sentence for corruption and money laundering. After the decision of the Supreme, the defense lawyers of the former president have announced that they will submit a request to release “immediately” Lula.
“The sentence concluded by the Supreme Court reinforces that former president Lula has been jailed 579 days unfairly and unconsciously … as we have always said,” the lawyers said in a statement.
“Lula has not committed any crime and is a victim of the law that, in the case of the former president, has been used strategically for the purpose of political persecution,” they said.
The former Sergio Moro, who led the majority of the trials of the 'Lava Jato' operation and is now Minister of Justice in the Government of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, said that eliminating the law would be a major setback for the fight against corruption in the country.
“The legal process in Brazil is extremely slow, there are endless appeals, after appeals, after appeals …,” said Moro at an event in Sao Paulo.