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Brazil Judge denies request to delay ex-president's hearing

Brazil Judge denies request to delay ex-president's hearing

CURITIBA, Brazil-The questioning of Brazil's former President Luiz InĂ¡cio Lula da Silva by an investigative judge over allegations of corruption has polarized this country between those who want to see him jailed and those who want him back in the presidency.

He accentuated his gruff speech before judge Sergio Moro, who has spearheaded Brazil's biggest-ever corruption probe, by pounding his fist and documents on a table and saying prosecutors had failed to produce any concrete evidence against him.

Another federal judge, Nivaldo Brunoni, ruled Tuesday that the date could not be changed because of security measures already put in place to avoid tumult in the city of Curitiba.

Social movements have organized a "Democracy Camp" in defence of former Brazilian President Luis Inacio "Lula" da Silva.

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However, he said the trial is politically motivated and has denied any wrongdoing. But he could still become the next Brazilian president.

"I have no personal issue with the former president", Moro said in his usually calm voice.

However, in the video of the hearing Moro went out of his way to reassure Lula that he would "be treated with maximum respect, as any defendant, but also equally considering the office that he had held previously".




"Lula is a victim of a deeply erroneous judicial procedure", said Ralph Moreira, 60, a lawyer who joined a pro-Lula protest camp set up in Curitiba.

Known throughout Brazil simply as Lula, he was Brazil's most popular president during his tenure from 2003 to 2010.

Silva has reason to drag the process out as h e has signalled his interest in running for president in 2018, and leads in preference polls.

As Lava Jato has unravelled the threads of a giant scam over more than three years, from a relatively small money-laundering case to one that ensnares virtually the entire political elite of the country (a third of Brazil's cabinet ministers, a third of its senators and more than a hundred members of the lower house of Congress have been indicted or are under investigation), it has become clear that Justice Moro wants not just individual convictions but to pursue systematic corruption to the top of the political chain. He was cheered on as a "warrior of the Brazilian people", the BBC reported.

As he made his way to the building, a stern-faced Lula grabbed a Brazilian flag and began waving it high above his head, but made no comments as he pushed through the crowd. "He was the only one in power who has not robbed from the poor". "The country can't be in this permanent state of conflict, with Brazilian against Brazilian", Temer said".

Lula arrived at the Curitiba courthouse on Wednesday surrounded by a sea of supporters.

Helped by a booming economy and an innovative cash-transfer programme, his administration helped lift tens of millions of people out of poverty and into the middle class.

Lula was deeply involved in the graft scheme, according to federal prosecutors and former Petrobras executives who negotiated plea deals or are seeking them. Millions in bribes allegedly were funneled into the campaign coffers of his Workers Party as well as almost every major political party, they say.


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