Interview: Lígia Bonfanti / Editor: André Zanardo
“He is serene. From the attitude that justice and the media have adopted, he already knew that it was practically impossible”. This was how the ex-Minister of Justice Eugênio Aragão described the state of spirit of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, after the episodes on Sunday 8 June, in an exclusive interview with Justificando.
The conversation with Justificando took place after the visit by Aragão to the Federal Police Superintendency where he met with and talked to Lula. The ex-Minister gathered the facts that took place on Sunday, and classified the activities of the rapporteur of the process against Lula in the 4th Federal Regional Court, Pedro Gebran Neto, of Judge Sérgio Moro and of the President of the 4th Federal Regional Court, Carlos Eduardo Thompson Flores, as “acting like kids”.
Lula was to wait in Curitiba for the Court’s decision, because he knew that the duty judge’s decision is absolutely transitory. But they resolved to jump in head first and thus trample on all the rules of jurisdiction and competence.
Unlike the ex-President, Aragão was not calm during the interview, and was strongly critical of the judges, who as far as he is concerned, unduly interfered in the case, clearly revealing the practice of “lawfare” against Lula.
I do believe that Moro, Gebran and Thompson Flores should answer for this to the National Council of Justice, and if justice is to be taken seriously in Brazil, they should be punished administratively for what they got up to yesterday. This is shamelessness, everyone should be dumbfounded. I have worked for over 35 years in Justice, and I have never seen anything like it. I have never seen anything like this before. As far as I am concerned, this is scandalous. They threw justice into the mud. They should have been patient. Where could Lula run to?
Photo: Lula Marques / Agência PT
See the interview in full:
How was your talk with President Lula?
He is serene, tranquil. In fact, in this time he has spent in prison, he has acquired the patience of a Tibetan monk, a tranquillity. At the outset he knew this was practically impossible, from the posture from Justice and the media have systematically adopted against him, so he was not there nursing any hope or anything. He was tranquil, really very tranquil.
How was Lula’s day yesterday throughout this whole episode? Was there any actual movement?
No, at no time was he anxious or anything, he was laughing, he thought this whole situation was funny, and he was accompanying it, sometimes on television, sometimes with the police who came to tell him of this whole attitude of “revoke, don’t revoke”. So he was accompanying the whole thing, but he was very tranquil, very serene. I think he will, at the right time, write a letter manifesting his position.
What is your evaluation on the events of yesterday?
The truth is that amongst all those who manifested themselves yesterday in this whole process, the only one who was right was the duty appeal judge Rogério Favreto, because he undoubtedly had the jurisdiction as the duty appeal judge.
The question was not at all about what had been judged, it was something completely new. What was being discussed was Lula’s right to campaign for the election. So this was what was being put, nobody was talking about provisional execution of time to be served or anything, it was a completely new question. So there was no overlapping with the other judgements.
But Judge Sergio Moro, there from Portugal, became involved without the process to hand, without paper or anything. He starts making calls desperately, calls the superintendent here in Brazil not to obey the order from the appeal judge. Then he issues a completely senseless dispatch, because he could not even say that he “thought” he had the jurisdiction. Because a week and a half ago he was told off by the Supreme Court Justice Dias Toffoli in relation to José Dirceu, because after the Supreme Court ordered the release of Dirceu, he demanded that Dirceu should wear an ankle monitor. At that time Toffoli had already told him he had no jurisdiction. This situation of Lula was identical. He had already been told off for this. Now he decided on a show-down, that is, really decided on sedition. This is sedition, what he did. Really, he decided to face-off against the appeal judge.
And curiously, the strangest thing is that at 9:24 in the morning the system showed the certificate here that the decision had been made to release Lula. The “counter-order” from Moro was given at mid-day. So from 9:24 to mid-day, why did the Federal Police not release him? That means something very strange was going on: the phone calls. If you can reverse a written order by a duty judge by telephone, what justice is this? Then the lines hum. Moro makes a call to Gebran, calls Carlos Eduardo Thompson Flores, in this desperate frenzy. This is not the posture of a judge. This might be the posture of a politician, but a judge should never behave this way. A judge who behaves this way is not impartial, and thus he becomes a judge arousing suspicions, and he cannot conduct this process. That is obvious.
And as if that were not enough, he “consults” – in quotation marks, as there is no such thing in procedural law, without any jurisdiction, as he is on holiday, and even if he was not, he would have no jurisdiction, because the cognitive phase of the process has already ended. He “consults” the rapporteur, Gebran, who curiously recognizes this “consultation”, which is a non-existent act, and uses this “consultation” to give a “counter-order” in relation to the decision of the duty judge, who had the jurisdiction for the case, as Gebran was off-duty.
The correct thing to do was for the duty judge to decide, release Lula, the next day the process would go to the rapporteur, and the rapporteur would obviously give the counter-order. But no, when he was off-duty he simply goes there and gives the counter-order against the decision of the duty judge. In other words he also crossed the line.
But that is not all. Favreto goes back and affirms his competence, and he is quite right, as he is the only one with the competence at that moment, and he gives one hour for the Federal Police to fulfill the release order. Now, the whole of Brazil already knows he has given this order. The Federal Police turned a deaf ear, because behind the scenes was the Chief, Rogério Galloro, knowing through Justice Raul Jungmann that the order was not to be obeyed, because the President of the 4th Federal Regional Court, Thompson Flores had already called saying “I will decide later, hold him”. Once again, Carlos Eduardo Thompson Flores acted outside his jurisdiction, profoundly infringing jurisdictional ethics and worse, without being aware of the arguments in the case records.
So appeal judge Thompson Flores had no jurisdiction over the case?
He had no jurisdiction and did not know what it was about. The one who was speaking for the Court at that moment was Favreto. He orders Lula to be held and only at eight o’clock at night does he give his decision and in doing so, has the orders of a colleague of his disobeyed. This is a big mess, there’s no other name for it. This is stuff of kids. This is stuff of children. There is no other expression to describe what happened.
I do believe that Moro, Gebran and Thompson Flores should answer for this to the National Council of Justice, and if justice is to be taken seriously in Brazil, they should be punished administratively for what they got up to yesterday. This is shamelessness, everyone should be dumbfounded. I have worked for over 35 years in Justice, and I have never seen anything like it. I have never seen anything like this before. As far as I am concerned, this is scandalous. They threw justice into the mud. They should have been patient. Where could Lula run to? He probably wouldn’t even have left Curitiba, because he’s an educated man, he knows there are limits. Lula was to wait in Curitiba for the Court’s decision, because he knew that the duty judge’s decision is absolutely transitory. But they resolved to jump in head first and thus trample on all the rules of jurisdiction and competence.
Much has been said about the friendship between Gebran and Moro, and the impossibility of Gebran being the rapporteur of the case.
On this matter I have no great knowledge, but I heard that there is a Whataspp group between Gebran, Moro, Fachin and everyone who had dealings with the process. If that is true, that is something that is truly horrendous, because that subverts the whole rule of double jurisdiction. If the first, the second and the third instance of jurisdiction are arranging between themselves, then what is the law of double jurisdiction if that exists? Nothing. In other words, give the ruling at the first instance and then have everything arranged between themselves.
You said yesterday that Lula was “kidnapped”.
Yes, because when there is a legitimate order to release President Lula and he is held in captivity, at the whim of magistrates without jurisdiction, he is not imprisoned legitimately, he is kidnapped, he is being held in false imprisonment. He is kidnapped. This is not a legitimate prison. Legitimate prison presupposes that it has been ordered by a competent, impartial authority instituted by law. In this case, there was nothing of the sort. There was a judge in a bathing costume in Portugal, giving orders from his thighs, and another here in Brazil attending to the clamour from his friend. This is not the act of a judge, this is false imprisonment. This is kidnapping by an articulated group, which if it were some other kind of activity could be called a criminal organization.