In 2014 Dilma Roussef was reelected President of Brazil. The right wing refused to admit their defeat in the election and set out to implement their neoliberal project rejected by the voters. It led this process by targeting Roussef for impeachment, resulting in the takeover of presidential power by then-vice president Michel Temer.

At the same time, in 2014 the judiciary began “Operation Car Wash,” allegedly to combat political corruption. “Operation Car Wash” resulted in the imprisonment of only a few corporate officials, but also widespread criminalization of Brazilian leftists, mainly members of the Workers Party (PT).

In the following election, PT leader Lula da Silva was the candidate leading in the  polls – despite Operation Car Wash – when the Judiciary, against all  fair procedures, ordered his arrest.

With Lula in jail, the ultra-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro was elected. The judge responsible for conducting Operation Car Wash and the conviction of Lula became minister of justice in the new Bolsonaro government.

Communications obtained by The Intercept revealed manipulation of the legal process against Lula by the judge himself, acting in close connection with the prosecutors and federal police. After the leak of these communications,  international pressure and resistance from progressive groups in Brazil, made Lula’s detention unsustainable.

As a result, former President Lula, imprisoned since April 2018, was released yesterday, on November 8, after a tight (6 against 5) decision of the Brazilian Supreme Court (STF). The STF reiterated that the clear constitutional provision that ensured the presumption of innocence while there is no final conviction was valid. The fact that 5 out of 6 Supreme Court judges voted to violate a clear constitutional provision is very worrying.

Meanwhile, the Bolsonaro government, in addition to the ultra-neoliberal economic policy it imposes on Brazil, has been promoting policies that threaten Black communities, women, LGBT communities, native people, and other vulnerable groups and acts to criminalize the poor instead of addressing poverty.

Given this situation, IADL demands

–  Nullification of the false legal process that led to the conviction of former President Lula;

–  Repudiation of discriminatory policies and violations of human rights against jurists, human rights organizations, social and democratic movements;

– The right to a fair trial  within an  accountable and independent Judiciary;

– A thorough, transparent, and independent investigation of the Marielle Franco assassination case.

Proposed by the Brazilian Association of Jurists for Democracy

Adopted by the International Association of Democratic Lawyers

Brussels, Belgium

10 November 2019


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