Court annuls Lula's convictions

A Brazilian court on 8 March has cleared criminal convictions against former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, opening the window for the popular trade union leader to run in next year’s presidential election. 

The Supreme Court dismissed all the criminal convictions against Lula, saying that the federal court that issued the sentences against da Silva did not have the jurisdiction to try the former president.

BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson lauded the decision, describing it as "a crucial step in the country’s return to democracy.”

“Brazil’s powerful political groups, unleashing lawfare, did everything they can to tarnish the image and reputation of the country’s beloved president and trade union leader. But they failed. Lula is more powerful and popular than ever. We hope that this decision signals the country’s return to the path of democracy even as it faces enormous economic and political challenges ahead,” Yuson said. 

Da Silva is a former trade unionist and founder of the Workers’ Party (PT). He was Brazil’s president from 2003 to 2010. Da Silva’s governance lifted 30 million people out of poverty through the Bolsa Familia program and generated more than 15 million jobs. 

Da Silva was convicted twice for corruption and was imprisoned, in what many believed to be efforts by his political enemies to prevent him from running as president in 2018. His convictions paved the way for right-wing politician Jair Bolsonaro’s rise to power. 

The Supreme Court’s overturn of da Silva’s convictions threatens the reelection of Bolsonaro in 2022.