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Huge rallies in Brazil demand freedom for Lula

A HUGE demonstration demanding freedom for jailed former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was called by the Workers Party (PT) in Recife today.

The demo in the capital of his home state Pernambuco came after rallies yesterday in Sao Paulo, Porto Alegre and Cuiaba.

It follows the imposition of another jail sentence on Lula by Judge Gabriela Hardt on Wednesday, when she gave him 12 years and 11 months behind bars on a charge of granting Petrobras contracts to two construction companies that did up a farmhouse for him.

Lula says the charge is politically motivated, there is no evidence to back it up and the farmhouse in question never belonged to him.

Lula is already serving a 12-year sentence for a corruption conviction condemned internationally as baseless and which rests solely on the testimony of a single convict who received a reduced sentence for incriminating the ex-president.

He was then barred from standing in the last Brazilian election — which all polls showed him winning — and the judge who jailed him, Sergio Moro, has been appointed justice minister in the new far-right administration of Jair Bolsonaro.

Fernando Haddad, who headed the Workers Party at the presidential election in his stead, said demonstrators “want every decision of a judge to be based on evidence, not conviction.

“I speak here not as Lula’s friend or as a PT member. I speak as a citizen who is concerned with the destiny of our country and with the lack of impartiality of justice.”


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