By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – In his first press conference after accepting the position of Justice Minister in the new Bolsonaro Administration, federal judge Sergio Moro said the invitation had nothing to do with the conviction of former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and stated his focus would remain on battling corruption and organized crime.
“This [invitation] has nothing to do with the case of former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. He was convicted and imprisoned because he committed a crime and not because of the elections,” said the judge, referring to criticism that it was his sentence that had prevented Lula, in first place in all polls until he was disqualified, from running for president.
Moro said he accepted the invitation to make sure that the Lava Jato (Car Wash) investigations would continue and that he would try to implement mechanisms into the system which would combat widespread and systematic corruption.
The judge, seen as one of the key figures in the Lava Jato corruption scandal also told journalists that he would review a congressional project to reduce the age of youngsters to be tried as an adult from 18 to 16, and also review Bolsonaro’s plans to ease gun ownership restrictions.
“I expressed my concern to him [Bolsonaro] that excessive flexibilization can often be used as a source of weapons for criminal organizations, so one has to think how many guns an individual will be able to have it in his house,”said Moro.
Moro also said he would like to do away with reduction of jail times for known leaders of criminal organization and reduce outside communication of between these leaders and the outside world.
“If there is evidence that the detainee has ties to criminal organizations, it means he is not ready for re-socialization,” he argued, adding, “The arrest has to neutralize the possibility of these people commanding crimes from within [the prisons].”
Aware that he will be a cabinet member for a leader who many claim to be a misogynist, racist and anti-LGBT, Moro stated that in his ministry there would be ‘no possibility of discrimination against minorities’. “Everyone has the right to public safety. Hate crimes are intolerable,” he said adding that he would all the federal police to fight this type of crime.
Moro also said that he did not agree with a bill being discussed in Congress that considers social movements, such as the Landless Peasant Movement (MST) as a terrorist group.
“It seems to me, however, that to qualify them [the social movements] as a terrorist organization is not consistent …. There is a law, an order that has to be observed even by these movements, but at no time is it the intention to criminalize social manifestations of any kind,” concluded the judge.