Former president of Brazil sentenced to jail for corruption affairs

By Kalendra Withana

Brazilian politician Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, universally known as ‘Lula’, has been issued with a nine year and six month prison sentence after having been deemed guilty for corruption and money-laundering offences.

It has been reported that Lula illegitimately participated in a corruption scheme, which saw billions of dollars being paid to elite officials in return for big contracts.

The Brazilian politician also gained approximately £590,000 in bribes from a construction company called OAS, and this money was then paid for a seaside duplex apartment at his request.

The aftermath of Lula’s prosecution has resulted in mass demonstrations in some of Brazil’s main cities, either to celebrate or condemn the politician’s fall.

Pro-Lula supporters have described the ruling as an “attack on democracy” and such protestors have appeared wearing red to demonstrations, beating drums and waving flags.

Meanwhile, anti-Lula protestors in São Paulo called on motorists to honk their horns to celebrate the politician’s sentencing.

There is therefore no denying that Lula’s prison sentence has been massively controversial amongst Brazilians, dividing the once unified nation.

Lula himself was once an inspirational and powerful figure in Brazil, having instigated social policies that have released tens of millions of Brazilians from poverty.

Former US president, Barack Obama, even called the leader “the most popular politician on earth”.

Professor Melo, who specialises in political science at a business school in São Paulo, spoke about the actions that he anticipates that Lula will now take for the ongoing case. He said:

“He will dramatize this process, of course, he will say this is a process to stop him being a candidate. The condemnation will enter the political game,”

“The Workers’ party will exploit this politically and say Lula is a victim.”

Lula’s judge in the trial, Sergio Moro, however disclosed that:

“The responsibility of a president of the republic is enormous, and, consequently, so is his guilt when he practises crimes.”

According to Lula’s defence lawyer, Cristiano Zanin Martins, it is expected that the politician will appeal his sentence on the allegation that Moro overlooked critical material provided by his defence.

Four more trials still face Lula, and there seems to be the thought that these proceedings will prevent the ex-president from ever returning to his career in politics.

Sources – The Guardian, Bloomberg, Financial Times

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