Judge authorizes Lula’s transfer to São Paulo

Defense team continues to fight for reversal of all charges due to lack of evidence and illegal collusion between judge Sérgio Moro and the Lava Jato prosecution team.

by Brian Mier

On Wednesday Morning, August 7th, Judge Carolina Lebbos, from the 12ª Federal District Court in Curitiba, authorized former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s transfer to a prison in São Paulo. The order was initially reported in the Brazilian media as a response to a request filed by the former President’s defense team, who, it was reported argued that keeping Lula imprisoned in the Curitiba Federal Police headquarters, where he has been held in solitary confinement for 487 days in violation of the Mandela Rules (the UN Standard Minimum Rules for Prisoners), is prejudicial to the public interest, due to the fact that it incurs financial and human resource costs that were allocated for police activity, not the long-term maintenance of prisoners.

However, at 11 AM Wednesday morning, Lula’s Defense team issued a statement clarifying that Judge Lebbos’ order did not address their request, which was for Lula to be transferred to a Sala do Estado Maior, which is a Brazilian legal term which refers to a larger room, normally located on a military or police barracks, with greater freedom of movement. Instead, they said, Lebbos’ decision rejected their request and opens the door for possible placement of the 73 year old former President in any prison in São Paulo.

Although supporters of Lula are beginning to worry about possible new risks for his safety, his transfer out of Curitiba signifies a loosening of control of the US Department of Justice-backed Lava Jato task force and its Curitiba cronies over the former President’s day to day well being. Over the past 15 months, the Curitiba courts have repeatedly broken Brazilian law regarding treatment of prisoners involving the former President, keeping him in solitary confinement, barring him from going to his brother’s funeral, limiting his visitation rights and not allowing him to exercise outdoors. His transfer to the State of São Paulo also signifies a possible transfer to a semi-open regime or house arrest, which the former President is eligible for according to Brazilian law.

Lula’s defense team has repeatedly said that their objective is a full reversal of the charges, since no material evidence was ever presented showing that Lula had ever committed a crime.

A series of leaked audio messages showing illegal collusion between former Lava Jato judge Sergio Moro and the prosecution team upholds the defense team’s claims. Messages by chief prosecutor Dalton Dallgnol that were sent out on Telegram hours before Lula’s trial show that he didn’t think that they had enough evidence for authorization to rule on his case in the neighboring state of Paraná, where the Lava Jato task-force is located, or to convict Lula  of any crime. Furthermore, In March, 2018, Lula’s defense lawyers filed for a motion to dismiss due to illegal, informal communications that bypassed governmental protocol between the Lava Jato task force and the US Department of Justice.

update: This article was updated to incorporate the information in Lula’s Defense team’s press release.


By Brian Mier

Writer, geographer and former development professional who has lived in Brazil for 26 years. Former directorate member of the Fórum Nacional de Reforma Urbana (National Urban Reform Forum). Has lived in São Luis, Recife, Salvador, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Author of “Os Megaeventos Esportivos na Cidade do Rio de Janeiro e o Direito á Cidade” (CEPR: Porto Alegre. 2016). Editor of "Voices of the Brazilian Left" (Sumare: São Paulo. 2018). Editor of "Year of Lead: Washington, Wall Street and the New Imperialism in Brazil" ((Sumare: São Paulo. 2019) Irregular correspondent for the Chicago radio show This is Hell.