Lawyers for former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio ‘Lula’ da Silva have submitted a new writ of habeas corpus to the Supreme Court of Justice (STJ). The petition, which was submitted in the wee hours of Friday morning, seeks to have the arrest warrant issued by judge Sergio Moro revoked.
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Lula’s attorneys argue that he still has legal and other matters to pursue that contest his corruption conviction by Brazil’s Fourth Regional Federal Court (TRF-4). Hence, in accordance with his constitutional rights, he cannot be detained until such measures are entirely exhausted.
The defense team has also presented a precautionary appeal to the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Committee seeking to have them stop his detention until the judicial process is exhausted.
"It’s evident this situation is illegal and the defense will analyze and verify the possible measures because it’s not compatible with the law. It’s not compatible with the federal constitution, because the constitution prevents knowing the sentence ahead of the final and definitive guilty verdict, which does not exist in the case of president Lula," said Lula’s defense lawyer Cristiano Zanin .
Media reports state Lula will not appear before the police on Friday as ordered by judge Moro after the Federal Supreme Court (STF) of Brazil rejected the presented habeas corpus.
Moro issued an arrest warrant for the former head of state on Thursday. It ordered Lula to present himself at the federal police headquarters in Curitiba before 5:00 PM, local time (GMT-3) Friday, to begin serving his 12 year and one-month sentence as determined by the TRF-4.
After being informed of the arrest warrant, Lula made his way to the ABC Steelworkers Union headquarters in Sao Bernardo do Campo, Sao Paulo where he spent the night alongside political allies. His successor, former Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff, Workers’ Party President and Senator Gleisi Hoffmann, presidential candidate for the Socialism and Liberty Party, Guilherme Boulos, Zanin were all present at the event.
Rousseff, she spoke to a crowd of supporters assembled outside the building, according to Agencia Brasil.
She stated: “Lula is innocent. He’s being victimized by one of the gravest actions against our people. Our Constitution is clear. Nobody can be detained until all of their legal resources have been exhausted… This is part of the coup, the coup that began when they removed me from the Presidency of the Republic without having committed any crime.”
To cheers and applause, Rousseff stated that the people are capable of resisting. “We are not a group of people who understand the language of stones and gunfire. This is not the Brazil we want. We will continue to resist courageously.”
Hoffmann, who also addressed the crowd, said: "We are gathered here with our supporters in the birthplace of the Workers Party… so we can combat this injustice."
The Landless Workers Movement, or MST, announced that they would block more 50 highways in 24 states to protest the arrest warrant. Other social movements and unions are planning more demonstrations throughout the country.
Lula also received ample support from current and former Latin American presidents.
“Stay strong, brother Lula,” tweeted Evo Morales. “Your struggle and the struggle of the poor, workers, intellectuals and professionals committed to the dignity and sovereignty of our people is also our (struggle). No decision, no judicial coup can ever impede it or separate it from (our) people.”
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro wrote, “This injustice hurts the soul. Not only Brazil but the whole world hugs you (Lula).” He accused Brazil’s elite class and right-wing’s “incapacity to win (the presidential election) democratically” for Lula’s persecuting and convicting Lula.
Former presidents Cristina Fernandez Kirchner (Argentina), Rafael Correa (Ecuador), Fernando Lugo (Paraguay), Nicaragua’s current president, Daniel Ortega, as well as Cuba’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, all expressed support for Lula.
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Lula’s two terms in office were marked by a slew of social programs, lifting millions of Brazilians out of poverty and removing the country from the United Nations World Hunger Map. One of his most ambitious and successful plans is Family Allowance (Bolsa Familia). Launched in 2003, it provided stipends to families living below the poverty line. In turn, those families must prove that their children are attending school and have been vaccinated.
He has told his judicial and media critics that “If they don’t want me to be a (presidential) candidate (this year), go to the polls and vote against me. Don’t create artifices and tricks to prevent my candidacy.”
Having left office with a record approval rating of 83 percent, according to Datafolha, Lula currently tops this year’s electoral polls conducted by Vox Populi, Datafolha, Data Poder 360, Instituto Parana, the National Confederation of Transportation/MDA and Ipsos.