By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The president of the Superior Court of Justice (STJ), Judge Laurita Vaz, denied on Wednesday (July 11th), in a single swoop of the pen, 143 habeas corpus asking for the release of former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, filed by third parties since Sunday. Judge Vaz criticized the petitions, which were all identical, as having ‘no adequate legal substance’ but rather merely acts of protest.
“The Judiciary can not be used as a booth for claims or manifestations of political or ideological-partisan nature. This is not their constitutional mission,” wrote Vaz. The STJ is the highest appellate court in Brazil for non-constitutional issues of federal law.
According to the judge the 143 petitions were delivered on paper overburdening court officials. Officials stated that none of the petitions were from lawyers who officially represent Lula.
All petitions contained the same wording, with only the petitioners’ government ID numbers (CPF) changing. The request was that Lula be guaranteed the right to appeal against his 12-year prison sentence for corruption and money-laundering in liberty.
In her rejection, the judge stated that sentence of the former president has already been decided by both the STJ and the Federal Supreme Court (STF).
On Sunday, Brazilians watched a nine-hour judicial battle unfold, as a designated, on-duty weekend federal judge agreed to a habeas corpus request and ordered the release of former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
The final decision was made in the late afternoon after the president of the Federal Regional Court (TRF) of the 4th Region (where the on-duty judge is assigned), Carlos Eduardo Thompson Flores Lenz, ruled to maintain Lula in prison, stating that it would not be up to the magistrate on duty to decide on Lula’s habeas corpus.