Zuma tells jailed Lula da Silva ‘the mighty truth will prevail’

Brazil's then president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (L), greets his then South African counterpart, Jacob Zuma (R), before their meeting at the Itamaraty Palace in Brasilia, Brazil, 15 April 2010. EPA/Antonio Lacerda

The Brazilian former leader has opted to stay in jail and clear his name rather than be released into house arrest.

Following Brazil’s leftist icon Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva decision last month to stay behind bars rather than apply for home detention, he has received support from his former counterpart in Brics, former president Jacob Zuma.

Lula has maintained his innocence after being jailed on corruption charges, his lawyers say.

Zuma, who has not previously tweeted anything since August 12, sent a message to Lula in Latin. The well-known proverb, popularised by a poem, means: “Truth is mighty and will prevail.”

Ex-president Lula has been incarcerated at the federal police headquarters in the southern city of Curitiba since April 2018, after he was sentenced to eight years and 10 months in jail for supposedly accepting a bribe.

After completing one-sixth of his sentence at the end of September, he was eligible under Brazilian law to apply for house or semi-open detention, which would allow him to leave prison during the day.

But Lula decided to forgo the option in order to “pursue the full restoration of his freedom, along with the recognition that he was a victim” of a contaminated judicial process, his defence team said in a statement to AFP.

The Supreme Court last month voted to suspend the transfer of Lula to a regular prison until after it rules on whether Justice Minister Sergio Moro, who was Lula’s convicting judge in 2017, was biased.

That decision could lead to a review of Lula’s case.

Moro, the powerful judge behind the so-called Car Wash corruption probe before he was appointed to President Jair Bolsonaro’s cabinet, has been accused of conspiring with prosecutors to keep Lula out of the 2018 election, which the ex-president was favoured to win, even though he was in jail.

Scores of high-profile politicians and business leaders have also been caught up in the years-long investigation.

Zuma, too, has been caught up in more than his own fair share of corruption investigations and charges, which he similarly describes as a delegitimate campaign against him.

It was reported this week that state capture inquiry has sent Zuma 80 questions about the evidence given against him in its hearings, “including queries about the proposed nuclear deal with Russia, why he fired finance ministers Nhlanhla Nene and Pravin Gordhan and details about his relationship with late Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson”.

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