The 8th Panel of the Federal Regional Court of the 4th Region (TRF-4) acted today (Nov 27) not as a court of law, but as a firing squad against former President Lula. In addition to ignoring the nullities in the Sitio de Atibaia ranch lawsuit and once again previously agreeing on increasing an unfair sentence, the Panel acted openly in contempt of the Supreme Federal Court (STF), in a veritable mutiny against the hierarchy of the Judiciary Branch and against the country’s constitutional and democratic order.
The 8th Panel did worse than just disobey an STF ruling on the order of presentation of the concluding arguments that entitles the defendant to close last, otherwise rendering the proceeding null and void. Rapporteur Gebran Neto simply judged and convicted the STF on the grounds that the Supreme Court would have unduly created a new juridical norm. And even dared to regulate the STF decision by ruling that the constitutional review will only come into effect in future cases, in a flagrant violation of jurisdiction.
This afternoon’s trial confirms the utter discredit brought by Car Wash and its main operators, Sérgio Moro and the Curitiba prosecutors, members of the 8th Panel, and the 4th Region’s Public Prosecutors on the Brazilian judicial system. In order to try Lula, just 19 days after he left prison, they had to pass over 1,941 other similar appeals ahead of his. With no support from the facts, the legislation, or Law, they resorted to undisguised manipulation of political arguments instead of facing the legal debate.
The goal had always been crystal clear from the inception of this travesty of justice: To prevent former President Lula from exercising freedom and his right to participate in the Brazilian political process. To send Lula back to prison, with no wrongdoing, no guilt, no evidence. To forcefully impose Car Wash supremacy over the legal order, over the institutions of the Republic. To submit the country to the arbitrary decisions of a political-ideological group that despises the democratic rule of law.
The trial responds to the nonconformity of the far-right government and of sectors of the media and the judiciary to the recognition, by the STF, of Lula’s right to appeal at liberty against the triplex apartment unfair and unlawful sentence. It is attuned with the pressures for Congress to amend an entrenched constitutional clause. As of today, there is no more concealing that the legislative bill on incarceration after a second-tier appellate court decision is, actually, a bill establishing Lula’s political imprisonment.
Never has the fear they have of a free Lula been so clear, of him speaking to the Brazilian people as he has always done. That is why they dismissed the flagrant nullities of the sentence that convicted the former president: The lack of a natural judge, Judge Gabriela Hardt’s cut-and-paste sentence, the curtailment of the defense attorney, the evidence of innocence. That is why they doubled down on their lie, being as cynical as to blame Lula for Bolsonaro’s election and for the ascent of ‘flat-earthism’.
As long as the courts of exception and political convictions prevail, as we saw this afternoon, the Brazilian Judiciary will bear the stain of discredit. This is the price Brazil is paying for the hatred and vengeful feelings of those who are persecuting former President Lula.
The Workers Party will fight relentlessly for true justice to be made and for the country to once again find full democratic rule of law.
Brasília, November 27, 2019.