After being heard by the Federal Police (PF) for over three hours on Friday morning (Mar. 4), former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva made a pronouncement at the PT headquarters in São Paulo, in which he criticized Brazilian courts and the press. Lula's testimony to the police was heard as part of a bench warrant targeting him under the 24th stage of Operation Car Wash.
Lula once again denied owning the seaside triplex apartment in Guarujá, São Paulo, which has been brought under judicial scrutiny by the Federal Prosecution Office and the PF. “If I haven't bought it or payed for it, it's not mine,” he said. “It's an apartment that doesn't belong to me which they say is mine. I hope they do give me the ranch and the apartment when it's all over,” he quipped. “When I pay for it and it's registered in my name, I can say it's mine and I'll be proud to do so,” he added.
The ex-president also criticized the concern of investigators over the $1,000 boat that belongs to former First Lady Marisa Letícia, and his grandchildren's pedal boats on a ranch in Atibaia—Lula and his family's common retreat in São Paulo. “I visit my friends' ranch because my enemies don't offer me any.”
The former head of state said the incident served to “raise PT's head, which had long been lowered.”
“I felt like a prisoner”
“A fireworks show” is how the former president described the work of the Federal Prosecution Office and that of Judge Sérgio Moro, who gave the PF the green light to start the operation. “It's a shame that part of the judiciary system is working alongside the press.” Lula restated he would not refuse to testify to the police, and that an invitation would suffice.
The ex-president stated that democracy needs “solid institutions” and that “prosecutors should be aware that a solid institution has to have responsible professionals,” and he said: “I felt like a prisoner this morning. I've been to a lot over the course of my life, but I think the country shouldn't remain frightened like this. Before lawyers know their client will be called for questioning, the press does. In the Constituent Assembly, I fought for a strong Prosecution Office. […] But prosecutors should know that a strong institution needs very responsible people,” he said.
Lula backed the president, arguing for her autonomy. “They're curtailing the right this woman has to rule this country.”
He criticized the work of the Brazilian press outlets in covering the case by referring to it as “judgment by the media.” He said, however, he is not “upset with journalists,” but rather “with some press outlets.” And he added: “I believe I deserve some more respect in this country.”
Lula ended his address speaking like a man from the Northeast: “If what they tried to do was to kill the snake, they missed the head! They hit the tail and the snake is alive and well, as it's always been.”
Translated by Fabrício Ferreira
Fonte: Agência Brasil.