A second instance court in Brazil denied an appeal by former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and upheld this Wednesday the 17-year prison sentence handed down by the same court in November against the former president, for passive corruption and money laundering, official sources reported .
The three magistrates of the eighth chamber of the Federal Regional Court of the Fourth Region (TRF-4) unanimously rejected the appeals presented by the ex-president's defense attorneys and supported the decision they had ruled in November, after holding a virtual trial due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In the defense's appeal, which sought to reverse the sentence, Lula's lawyers asked for the revision of doubts, understandings and "contradictions" in the process.
However, magistrate Joao Pedro Gebran Neto, of the TRF-4 and instructor of the Lava Jato operation cases in court, considered that the points expressed by Lula's lawyers "demonstrate a nonconformity" and seek a new discussion about " what has already been decided, "according to a statement.
The court also denied a request that the virtual trial, adopted due to the COVID-19 crisis, be suspended and postponed for an in-person session.
For his part, Lula's defense described maintaining the sentence as "unfair and arbitrary" and criticized the fact that the lawyers were unable to participate in the virtual trial and "make the interventions provided for in law."
"This situation already constitutes violation of the constitutional guarantee of broad defense and violation of the prerogatives of the lawyers," Lula's main lawyer, Cristiano Zanin Martins, said in a statement.
Lula also criticized the decision, although he stated on his social networks that he was "waiting" for it.
"They will be unmasked. I hope to be alive to see it. I am from a land where we like to fight a lot," said the former president on his Twitter account.
With today's ruling, the three magistrates of the eighth chamber of the TRF-4 thus maintained their decision issued in November, when they unanimously raised Lula's sentence to 17 years and 1 month in prison compared to 12 years and 11 months. prison that had been imposed in the first instance in the so-called "Atibaia case".
On the occasion, the judges considered that it was proven that Lula benefited from the works for about a million reais (today about $ 175,440) that the construction companies Odebrecht and OAS made in a country house located in the state of Sao Paulo, in exchange for favoring companies in contracts with the state-owned Petrobras.
The former president already has another conviction ratified in the third instance, after the Justice assumed that he received an apartment on a beach in Guarujá, in Sao Paulo, in exchange for favors to the construction company OAS in contracts with Petrobras, and for the that Lula spent 580 days in prison.