As incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro keeps closing in on the former head of State Luiz Inácio Lula Da Silva ahead of this year's Oct. 2 elections, the United Nations Human Rights Committee Thursday ratified the PT leader's tights had been violated when he was tried and convicted for corruption in another episode of the Lava Jato saga.
Even though the Supreme Federal Court (STF) overturned Lula's conviction, it was not enough to repair the damage caused, since his right to liberty, privacy, a fair and impartial trial, as well as to run for political office were violated.
A panel of United Nations human rights experts determined that he was illegally barred from running for president in 2018, when the current right-wing leader was elected, due to judicial bias.
After learning of the decision, Lula called the ruling a victory for all Brazilians who believe in the rule of law and democracy''. It is a historic decision, he said.
Meanwhile, Argentine President Alberto Fernández said on Twitter that the ruling opens a new horizon for those of us who fight against lawfare.
Lula was the favorite in the polls to return to the office he held between 2003 and 2010 when federal judge Sergio Moro found him guilty of corruption and money laundering.
While states have a duty to investigate and prosecute acts of corruption and to keep the public informed, especially when a former head of state is involved, such actions must be carried out in a fair manner and respect due process guarantees, remarked committee member Arif Bulkan.
Lula was investigated in 2016 within the Lava Jato case, which uncovered a corruption scheme involving the privately-owned construction company Odebrecht, among other suspects. The judge in charge of the case was Sergio Moro, who later became Justice Minister under current President Jair Bolsonaro.
Moro approved a request by the prosecutor to tap Lula's telephones, as well as those of his family and his lawyer. He then leaked the contents to the press, which was also informed of an arrest warrant against Lula for questioning. Moro sentenced Lula to nine years in prison in July 2017, but the PT leader was not incarcerated until April 2018. Lula was also barred from running for president and his prison term was later extended to 12 years. He was the favorite in the polls for the presidential election of October 7 of that year, which finally went to Jair Bolsonaro.
In 2021, the STF annulled the sentence citing a lack of competence on the part of the Curitiba court that handled the trial, in addition to declaring Moro had been biased when he directed the actions of prosecutors during the case. Moro later argued Lula had been found guilty by nine judges - three in Porto Alegre court and five from the STF in addition to himself.
My decisions were confirmed by the appellate bodies, there was never any persecution, I always acted with the law, has defended Moro, who has regretted that the UN complaint is unduly influenced by the decision of the STF itself in a judicial error in overturning Lula's convictions.
It is also possible to verify, in the report of the UN Committee, obtained strong votes that leave no doubt that my action was legitimate in the application of the law, in the fight against corruption and that there was no political persecution of any kind,” Moro claimed.