Lula da Silva is not longer in prision

A ruling by the Brazilian Supreme Court could change the fate of the former Brazilian president.

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. / Photo: Agência Brasil

LatinAmerican Post | Marcela Peñaloza

Listen to this article

Leer en español: Lula da Silva queda en libertad

Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, 74, began serving a sentence of eight years and 10 months last April 2018 for the crime of corruption. The sentence was ratified in the second and third instances, but a new ruling by the Brazilian Supreme Court released him on Friday, November 8.

According to La Vanguardia, “in a very tight ruling, defined only by a vote (6-5), the Supreme annulled a jurisprudence that had been established in 2016 and with which he had authorized to execute a prison sentence after it was confirmed in the second instance, although there were still two pending appeals in higher courts at that stage.”

The decision, which has caused controversy, caused Lula da Silva to be released after Judge Danilo Pereira ordered the immediate exit of the former president. The decision also benefits thousands of prisoners who have not exhausted appeals in their respective sentences. The Court determined that the defendants will go to prison once they have exhausted all legal remedies in their favor; once this has happened, the person's guilt would be clear and at that time the prison sentence would begin.

Under the new jurisprudence established by the Court, freedom will be granted to the accused if they do not represent a danger to society and when their lawyers have requested a new appeal. It is important to note that freedom will be granted to prisoners who have not committed violent crimes.

The measure, in addition to benefiting the former president, would also become a powerful tool for those accused of the Lava Jato scandal. According to El Espectador, it is estimated that the number of prisoners that could be released is 5000.

Through Twitter, Lula da Silva's lawyer, Cristiano Zanin Martins, said he suggested the ex-plaintiff implement the new appeal to get him out of jail immediately, based on the decision taken by the Brazilian Supreme Court. “Already at PF Curitiba to speak with former President Lula. We will suggest the immediate protocol of a request to the execution court to remove him from prison based on the STF trial yesterday, notwithstanding continuing to prioritize the HC of suspicion”, the lawyer tweeted.

The judge who took the decision also arranged protocols to avoid disturbs when the ex-President leaves the prison.

Also read: Former Minister of Justice in Colombia with judicial problems

Political strategy?

When the sentence of Lula da Silva was ratified in the second instance, his defense claimed that it was a plan to prevent the former president from competing in the electoral contest that left the current president Jair Bolsonaro as the winner.

Before the decision, the Bolsonaro government ruled through the General Advocacy of the Union. Anedre Mendonça argued that the prison should be maintained after the second instance. The official explained that "the ordinary justice, until the second instance, deals with the facts, the evidence, and the evidentiary construction", while the high Courts are in charge of discussing "questions of law and form" in relation to compliance with due process.