Socialist Lula da Silva, Brazil’s corrupt former president and good friend to Cuba’s corrupt communist dictatorship, will have to campaign from prison if he wants to run for the presidency again. Yesterday, the Brazilian Supreme Court ruled that da Silva, who was convicted of corruption and money laundering and sentenced to 12 years in prison, will have to begin serving his sentence.
No doubt, this is not good news for the Castro mafia in Havana. Justice may be slow, but it never fails to arrive.
In 11-Hour Session, Brazil’s Supreme Court Rules to Send Presidential Frontrunner to Prison
Brazil’s Supreme Federal Tribunal (STF) ruled early Thursday morning against a habeas corpus petition that would have kept socialist former president and presidential frontrunner Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva from beginning to serve a 12-year prison sentence for corruption.
The decision does not prevent Lula, as he is popularly known, from attempting to register on October’s presidential ballot but would mean that the Workers’ Party (PT) candidate would have to campaign from prison. He is still ineligible to serve as president as per the nation’s “Clean Slate” law, which prevents individuals convicted on corruption charges from serving in public office. To assume the presidency, he would have to challenge the law before the STF.
The STF is comprised of 11 members. Five voted in favor of granting the habeas corpus petition, which would have kept Lula from beginning to serve a prison sentence until he had exhausted all his appeals. Six voted in favor of forcing him to begin serving his prison sentence. Lula has already lost an appeal on his sentence. Appellate judges not only denied his appeal but extended his sentence from nine years to 12 in prison.
Carmen Lúcia, the president of the STF, broke a 5-5 tie shortly after midnight local time to reject the habeas corpus petition after the court denied the defense’s request to keep her from voting. Lúcia noted that she had already ruled that forcing someone convicted of a crime who had not exhausted all appeals to begin serving their sentence did not damage the presumption of innocence in cases dating as far back as 2009.
The former socialist Workers’ Party (PT) president was convicted of corruption and money laundering last year as part of a larger investigation known as “Operation Car Wash.” Brazilian prosecutors have uncovered an extensive corruption scheme in which dozens of the nation’s most prominent politicians were accepting kickbacks from corporate firms, including the disgraced construction firm Odebrecht, in exchange for overpriced infrastructure project contracts. The firms would give back part of the excess taxpayers’ funding the contracts provided to the politicians to secure further business.
Brazilian courts found that Lula accepted over one million dollars in bribes and used part of the funding for a luxury beachfront property. The former president, who ran a campaign championing the rights of the poor and continues to do so in seeking a second term as president, initially received a sentence of fewer than ten years in prison, amended on appeal.
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