Brazil's former president, Lula da Silva, says he was jailed to prevent him from winning the 2018 presidential election which saw far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro elected. In an exclusive interview with the BBC via letters from his cell, Lula said Judge Sergio Moro “did politics and not justice” when he sentenced him.
Mr. Moro says the verdict was upheld by an appeals court and was not a one-man decision.
Lula is serving a 12-year sentence. A month before the election, an electoral court banned Lula from running on the grounds that he had been sentenced, and that sentence had been upheld on appeal.
At the time, Lula had a 20-percentage-point lead over his closest rival, Jair Bolsonaro, in opinion polls.
Lula's Workers' Party replaced him on the ballot with his running mate Fernando Haddad on 11 September. With less than a month to campaign as presidential candidate, Mr. Haddad struggled to match Lula's name recognition. While he made it into the run-off, Mr. Haddad lost to Mr. Bolsonaro by 10 percentage points.
Banned from giving face-to-face or telephone interviews, Lula answered questions posed by Brazilian journalist Kennedy Alencar for a BBC TV documentary via letters.
In them, Lula said that Bolsonaro only won because he did not run against me.
Lula was sentenced by Judge Moro to nine and a half years in prison after being found guilty of corruption in July 2017 over a scandal linked to oil-giant Petrobras.
In his letters, Lula argues that his guilty verdict was politically motivated.
I was convicted for being the most successful president of the Republic [of Brazil] and the one who did most for the poor, he wrote, referring to his high approval rating when he left office after serving as president from January 2003 to January 2011.
[Judge] Moro knew that if he acted according to the law he would have to acquit me and I would be elected president.
So he did politics and not justice and now benefits from it, Lula wrote, referring to the nomination of Judge Moro to the post of Justice minister by president elect Bolsonaro.
The decision by Mr. Moro to accept the post was heavily criticized by many in Brazil who had accused the judge of disproportionately targeting left-wing politicians in his anti-corruption drive.
It was also seen as an about-face by Mr. Moro who had told Brazilian newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo in 2016 that he would never enter politics.
Mr Moro said that he was led to make the decision to become justice minister by the prospect of implementing strong policies against corruption and organized crime, while respecting the constitution, the law and rights.
In his letters, Lula also insists on his innocence, writing that I am imprisoned for no reason. He warns fellow Brazilians that their rights are under threat if this can be done to a former president.
In response to Lula's allegations, Mr. Moro said that the former president was convicted for being the mastermind of [the] Petrobras scandal. About US$ 2bn were paid in bribes using Petrobras contracts during his presidency, he wrote in a message to Kennedy Alencar.
Mr. Moro also pointed to the fact that an appeals court unanimously upheld Lula's conviction in January and increased his sentence to 12 years and one month, and the Superior Court in Brasilia had upheld his prison order.
It is not a one-man decision, Mr. Moro wrote of Lula's conviction. He also added that his nomination as justice minister did not have anything to do with [Lula's] conviction.
I did not even know the elected president in 2017 when the sentence was delivered, he wrote. Lula surrendered to police in April and has been held in a cell in at the federal police headquarters in Curitiba since.
The three-part BBC documentary series What happened to Brazil... will be broadcast on BBC World News starting on 12 January 2019
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REF: Lulla says he was jailed to prevent him from winning the 2018 presidential electionDec 08th, 2018 - 09:20 am +3
Did he say that he was jailed because he didn't share a large enough part of his illicit wealth with the other crooks?
Donald J. Trump on Twitter: ”The Paris Agreement isn’t working out so well for Paris. Protests and riots all over France. People do not want to pay large sums of money, much to third world countries (that are questionably run), in order to maybe protect the environment. Chanting “We Want Trump!” Love France.”Dec 08th, 2018 - 09:21 pm +1
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Lula should play it smart and lay the blame upon Donald Trump. (Just like Clinton accused Russia.) ...it's a much better defense than admitting he's currently incarcerated because he's a proven convicted thieving criminal...
Thousands of protesters were on the Champs-Élysées today voicing their displeasure against Macron who recently lectured President Trump about not supporting Globalism. According to Angela Merkel, Trump is responsible for the partial destruction of the New World Order, with populist right-leaning leaders winning elections in Brazil, Poland, Austria, Hungary and Italy the past year.
Meanwhile, protests are happening today in Belgium and Holland as well.
You claim that the American President is an anti-Semite, yet I've already pointed out to you that Trump's daughter, son-in-law and 3 grandchildren are Orthodox Jews. At least 5 high rankling WH positions are held by Jews as well. Why is it Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel, described Donald Trump as a close personal friend and the most pro-Israeli President in history?Dec 10th, 2018 - 12:52 pm +1