Despite the overwhelming evidence against him, the UN Human Rights Committee has asked Brazil “to take the necessary measures to ensure that Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva can exercise his political rights while in prison”, as a candidate for the presidential elections of 2018.
Although such decisions of the UN are not binding, it is still constitutes interference by the international entity with respect to the sovereignty of the country.
“This includes having appropriate access to the media and members of his political party,” the agency said in a public statement.
The Committee clarified that their decision is merely an “interim measure” to “preserve the rights” of the disgraced ex-president.
They are, thus, requesting that Brazil both disregards the rule of law, and guarantees favorable conditions for his candidacy.
This organ of the United Nations supervises the compliance of the States with the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights.
“Every political prisoner is a political prisoner”
Presently, Lula supporters are promoting the slogan “every political prisoner is a political prisoner” on social media. In this instance, it ignores the considerable evidence of criminality against the ex-president.
For example, Lula denied owning the luxury home in Sao Paulo state which is at the heart of the case against him. However, inside are recorded the names of his grandchildren and there are both photos and videos of him inside.
This was part of the allegations of illicit enrichment that also led to the impeachment of his successor, Dilma Roussef. Lula was charged with participation in corruption cases linked to the state oil company.
The UN’s interference in Brazil is not unique. In Latin America, the judicial system of Guatemala is at the mercy of the CICIG, a body that operates under the UN and has sufficient power to influence decisions on imprisonment and house arrest.
A Guatemalan deputy died a few days ago. Despite his poor state of health, a judge denied him house arrest and he finally died without having received a criminal sentence; he was thus caught in a legal limbo that kept him in custody until the last day of his life.
As for Lula, the UN request for “fair judicial proceedings” arose in response to the complaint filed by the lawyers of the ex-president last May before the Human Rights Committee of Brazil, alleging political persecution. But the date of issuance of the opinion on the matter has been set for 2019, when all the parties involved can defend their arguments.
However, the General Prosecutor’s Office has rejected request on the part of Lula to participate in the presidential election, which is scheduled for October 7.
Now it is in the hands of the Superior Electoral Tribunal to accept or deny the request; the ruling will also demonstrate the extent to which international organizations have influence over the elections and especially national legal systems, as has occurred in Guatemala and may also occur in Brazil.
And above all, it puts into question the neutrality of the UN when it openly seeks to influence presidential elections in a country where the judicial system has determined the guilt of a politician.
Lula remains a popular figure with many Brazilians despite the criminal convictions against him. Currently Fernando Haddad, former mayor of Sao Paulo, and Jair Bolsonaro, a Rio de Janeiro Congressman, are leading in the polls.
Despite Lula’s legal machinations it still appears unlikely that the Brazilian justice system will reverse course and allow him to stand for the elections, which are now little more than six weeks away.
Brazil has been rocked by numerous allegations of corruption and self-enrichment involving both the Petrobras and Odebrecht corruption scandals.