Submitted by Celso P. Santos
Former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of the Workers ‘Party (PT) surrendered to the Federal Police (PF) and was arrested the night of Saturday, April 7, after spending two days at the headquarters of the ABC Metalworkers’ Union in São Bernardo do Campo. He was in the building in the since Thursday (5), when Judge Sergio Moro issued an arrest warrant.
Lula walked out of the union headquarters at 6:42 pm and walked to a nearby building where PF teams were waiting for him. He got into the PF car at 6:47 p.m. The exit had to be done this way because, at 17h, Lula tried to get out of the car, but was stopped by his supporters.
The convoy continued going to the PF Superintendence, in Lapa, São Paulo, where it arrived at 7:44 pm. Demonstrators for and against the arrest were waiting for him. The vehicles came in normally.
Protesters for the arrest ran toward the car where the former president was and cursed him. After the convoy entered, the pro and anti-prison groups exchanged offenses and shoves.
According to the PF, Lula was “attended by doctors from the Medical-Legal Institute of São Paulo”, who performed the examination of a body of crime. At 08:05 pm, the former president entered a helicopter of the Military Police that followed towards the Congonhas Airport, in the South Zone. The aircraft landed at 8:22 p.m.
Lula entered a single-engine turboprop airplane belonging to the PF itself. The small aircraft with Lula took off at 8:46 p.m. and arrived in Curitiba at 10:01 p.m.
After the take off, demonstrators against the prison and who were waiting for Lula’s arrival in front of the authorities’ sector gate of the airport blocked the sense of the North-South Corridor neighbourhood. Military Tactical Police officers used a morale bomb to disperse the group. One man was arrested.
In the first attempt to leave the union, Lula returned to the interior of the building when being stopped by militants to leave with his car.
After more than an hour, the PT president, Senator Gleisi Hoffman, got into a sound car and told the militancy that the PF had given half an hour for them to solve the situation. She added that if it had not been resolved, “it’s Lula that will suffer the consequences.”
“When Lula made the decision, he made the decision based on a situation. The resistance we can make. But the reading we do here is not our resistance, but it’s his resistance,” Gleisi said.
Lula was sentenced in two courts of law in the case of the triplex apartment in Guarujá. The penalty set by the 8th Panel of the Federal Regional Court of the 4th Region (TRF-4) is 12 years and 1 month in prison, starting in a closed regime, for passive corruption and money laundering. The judge vetoed the use of handcuffs “under any circumstances.”
Around noon, Lula spoke for 55 minutes during a religious ceremony in honour of former First Lady Marisa Letícia, who would turn 68 on Saturday and he said wouldn’t “run” and “hide.” The former president also criticized the decisions of the judiciary.
“Do not think that I am against the Jet Wash Operation, not … the Jet Wash, if you catch a thug, you have to pick up a thug even if you stole it and arrest it.” “I do not want you to be poor, you do not hold rich.” “We all said, and I want you to keep on getting rich, destroys the people of society in the image of the people, and then the judges will judge and say, I cannot go against public opinion, because public opinion is asking to hunt, drop off the toga and go to be a candidate for deputy. Choose a political party and go to be candidate. Toga is the employment for life. The citizen has to vote only based on the proceedings of the process.”
During the speech, Lula asked Judge Sergio Moro to present evidence against him. “I am not afraid of them, I have already said that I would like to have a debate with Moro about the complaint he made against me, I would like him to show me some proof … What crime have I committed in this country? Because I dreamed that it was possible to govern that country by involving thousands of poor people in the economy, giving places in universities and jobs for the poor? “, Lula questioned.
The deadline given by federal judge Sérgio Moro for Lula to appear spontaneously expired at 5 pm on April 6, but the former president, together with his lawyers and party colleagues, decided to remain in the trade union.
Lula arrived at the union headquarters on Thursday (April 5) at 7:15 p.m., one hour and 22 minutes after Moro signed the jail sentence. During all day long, he received his lawyers, friends and co-religionists to define what his presentation to PF would be like. Outside, PT leaders, trade unions and other leftist parties took turns in the sound car to address the ex-president to thousands of coreligionists. Around 9 pm, militants began to carry sleeping bags and food. Hundreds passed the Saturday night at the union headquarters. Protesters also did acts contrary to the former president in 24 states and the Federal District.
The defence tried to avoid Lula’s arrest with a preventive habeas corpus in the Federal Supreme Court (STF), but in April 4 the request was denied by the Ministers, by 6 votes to 5. The defence wanted that the sentence only be fulfilled after the judgment – that is, after all the possibilities of appeal have been closed in the higher courts, which was rejected.
In a statement, lawyer Cristiano Zanin Martins, one of Lula’s defenders, states that “the arrest warrant contradicts the ruling issued by the TRF-4 itself on January 24, which conditioned the measure – incompatible with guaranteeing the presumption of innocence – to the exhaustion of possible appeals to be presented to that Court, which has not yet occurred. ”
On this Thursday, the TRF-4 sent an official letter to Moro authorizing the start of execution of the sentence.
The PT’s defence, however, may still present a last resort to TRF-4, which does not, however, have the power to reverse the conviction. The deadline of 12 days for the presentation of this resource began to count on the last day 28 and ends on April 10.
In the order, Moro affirms that such resources are “proteolytic pathology”.
“Hypothetical embargoes of declaration of foreclosure of declarations constitute only a pathological pathway and that should be eliminated from the legal world,” Moro wrote.
“In any case, embargoes of declarations do not alter judged, with which the convictions cannot be changed in the second instance,” he added.
Once the chances of appeal in TRF-4 are exhausted, Lula’s lawyers can still appeal against the conviction in the Superior Court of Justice (STJ) and the Federal Supreme Court (STF) in Brasília.
Lula is accused of receiving a triplex apartment on the coast of São Paulo as a covert tip from the construction company to favour the company in contracts with Petrobras. The former president denies the allegations and claims to be innocent.
One room was reserved for Lula on the top floor Federal Police Superintendence, in Curitiba, Paraná.
“It should be clarified that, because of the dignity of the position held, a reserved room, a kind of General Staff Room, was prepared in advance in the Federal Police Superintendence itself, for the commencement of sentence, and in which the former president will be separated from the other prisoners, without any risk for moral or physical integrity, “says Moro in the office.
In the order, the magistrate still ordered the execution of the prison sentence against the former executives of the construction company OAS José Adelmário Pinheiro Filho and Agenor Franklin Magalhães Medeiros. Both are already incarcerated in the PF prison in Curitiba.
Once the conviction has been confirmed and the appeals closed in the second judicial body, Lula is ineligible in the forthcoming presidential elections of October 2018 by the Clean Registry Act.
In the electoral sphere, however, the situation of the former president will be decided by the Superior Electoral Court (TSE), which should analyse its possible candidacy registration. The parties have until August 15 to file applications. The TSE has until September 17 to accept or reject applications.
The former president may also request a preliminary injunction (provisional decision) from the TSE or a higher court that will allow him to run for the 2018 elections. The Clean Registry Act provides for the possibility of someone continuing to run for public office if there are pending appeals against the judgment.