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BRAZIL | Court Ruling Might Lead to Lula's Freedom

Supreme Court Justice Marco Aurelio Mello granted Wednesday a preliminary injunction to release people convicted in a second instance who still have appeals pending. This decision may lead to the release of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who was arrested after being convicted in the Lava-Jato corruption case by a Federal Regional Court.

According to the Brazilian Report, Lula's attorneys have already placed a request to release him from jail. The request for his release was filed by lawyer Cristiano Zanin in the Justice Forum of Curitiba where Lula is being held. “It is necessary to immediately fulfill the decision of the Supreme Court,” Lula’s lawyers argued.

Mello's ruling effectively orders the release of prisoners whose sentences have not yet been ratified by higher courts. His decision is based on an article in the country's constitution, according to which prison can only be ordered after the appeals process has concluded. In Lula's case, there are two possible appeals before higher courts that remain pending.

The ruling, however, clarifies that release is not automatic and that each case must be analyzed by the presiding judge.

The Workers' Party is already demanding Lula's release. Via Twitter, the political organization said: "The defense of @LulaOficial asks for the release of the former president after a decision of STF (Supreme Federal Court). Minister Marco Aurelio Mello determined the release of all prisoners after a second-instance decision, upholding the Constitution."

As the decision was made on the last day of operation of the STF before the recess, there will be no time to take the case to the plenary of the Supreme Court.

Lula is internationally recognized as a political prisoner. His imprisonment led to his inability to run in the October 2018 general elections and paved the way for the victory of far-right Jair Bolsonaro who has announced an aggressive neoliberal economic program and the use of forces against social movements.

  • Countries: Latin America

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