Senator Bernie Sanders and other Congressional Democrats have recently written a letter to Brazil’s Ambassador to the U.S. Sergio Silva do Amaral, on Thursday, July 26 demanding fair due process for the country’s former leftist leader, Lula da Silva, and a proper independent investigation into the murder of leftist Rio de Janiero city councilmember Marielle Franco. Congressional representatives such as Mark Pocan of Michigan, Maxine Waters of California, Keith Ellison of Minnesota, Ro Khanna of California, and Barbara Lee of California have also co-signed the letter.
The letter has criticised the imprisonment and conviction of Da Silva of being highly politicized by the courts as well as the government rather than allowing a fair and decent trial process. In regards to Franco’s assassination in March of 2018, the letter also expresses the need for an independent investigation after two policemen were detained on Tuesday, July 24 by Rio de Janiero city authorities as suspected of being in the vehicle that fired at the councilmember to death. Brazil’s current president, Michel Temer, was also criticized for his social program cuts and the relaxation of labor laws.
The letter’s publication comes at a time where South America’s largest country and economy is having upcoming general elections where a far-right populist candidate, Jair Bolsonaro, is gaining in the polls to become Brazil’s next president. Former president Lula Da Silva is currently serving a 12-year prison sentence for money laundering and corruption and is barred from running for political office. He is awaiting a court case that could either overturn or upheld his own appeal for release or retrial. Silva’s previous successor, former president Dilma Rousseff, was impeached by the country’s National Congress in Brasilia for corruption charges as well in 2016.
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