Top figures from the labour movement have signed an open letter advocating the release of Brazilian politician Lula.
The former President of Brazil is currently serving a 12-year custodial sentence after being convicted of money laundering and corruption. He maintains his innocence.
April 7th marked the first anniversary of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s imprisonment.
11 Labour MPs, including frontbenchers Diane Abbott and Richard Burgon, have joined with leaders of the UK’s biggest trade unions, plus journalists and other activists, to “stand in solidarity with those struggling for democracy in Brazil”.
Below is the full text of the open letter.
We condemn the continued persecution of former President Lula in Brazil (jailed on April 7 2018). Lula was favourite to win Brazil’s 2018 presidential election until he was jailed and barred from standing in a move condemned by the UN Human Rights Committee.
The election was subsequently won by the far-right Jair Bolsonaro who has said he hopes Lula “rots in prison”. Astonishingly, Judge Moro who oversaw Lula’s trial has now been appointed as Bolsonaro’s Minister of Justice.
Lula is a political prisoner. We call for his freedom and stand in solidarity with those struggling for democracy in Brazil.
Richard Burgon MP (Labour)
Diane Abbott MP (Labour)
Daniel Carden MP (Labour)
Emma Dent Coad MP (Labour)
David Drew MP (Labour)
Karen Lee MP (Labour)
Grahame Morris MP (Labour)
Laura Pidcock MP (Labour)
Danielle Rowley MP (Labour)
Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP (Labour)
Laura Smith MP (Labour)
Baroness Jean Corston (Labour)
Baroness Llin Golding (Labour)
Neil Findlay MSP (Labour)
Frances O’Grady, General Secretary, TUC
Len McCluskey, General Secretary, Unite the Union
Dave Prentis General Secretary, UNISON
Tim Roache, General Secretary, GMB
Paddy Lillis, General Secretary, USDAW
Manuel Cortes, General Secretary, TSSA
Mick Whelan, General Secretary, ASLEF
Ronnie Draper, General Secretary, BFAWU
Chris Kitchen, General Secretary, NUM
Tony Burke & Christine Blower, Vice-Chairs, Brazil Solidarity Initiative
Rachel Garnham, Labour NEC & Labour Friends of Progressive Latin America