UN human rights committee asks Brazil to let Lula run in election

UN body says imprisoned former president cannot be disqualified from poll because his legal appeals are still ongoing.

    Lula is leading the polls by a wide margin [File: Eraldo Peres/The Associated Press]
    Lula is leading the polls by a wide margin [File: Eraldo Peres/The Associated Press]

    The United Nations Human Rights Committee has called for imprisoned former president Luiz Inacio "Lula" da Silva to be allowed to run as a candidate in Brazil's presidential election in October.

    The committee, which oversees countries' compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, said on Friday that Lula cannot be disqualified from the poll because his legal appeals are still ongoing.

    In an emailed statement, the committee said they urged Brazil "not to prevent him from standing for election in the 2018 presidential elections, until his appeals before the courts have been completed in fair judicial proceedings".

    Brazil's Workers Party nominated Lula as their candidate earlier this month, despite him currently serving a 12-year prison sentence for corruption. 

    The former president is leading the polls by a wide margin. He and his supporters say the charges are politically motivated. 

    Under Brazilian law, candidates with a conviction upheld cannot hold office for eight years.

    But a conviction does not bar them from campaigning.

    The Supreme Electoral Tribunal, which has until September 17 to rule on Lula's candidacy, is expected to bar the 72-year-old from running, a decision his lawyers could then appeal to the Supreme Court. 

    Car Wash conviction

    Voters go to the polls on October 7 to pick their next president, as well as vote for their local and national representatives and state governors.

    In no presidential candidate secures more than 50 percent of the vote, a runoff vote between the top two contenders will take place on October 28.

    Lula, who ruled Brazil for two terms (2003-2010), was convicted of corruption in a sprawling investigation codenamed Lava Jato (Car Wash).

    He says the charges are part of a political witch-hunt to keep him from running for president.

    He was imprisoned in April, after the country's Supreme Federal Tribunal denied his request to stay out of prison until he has exhausted all appeals against his conviction.  

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Explore how your country voted on global issues since 1946, as the world gears up for the 74th UN General Assembly.

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    We dialled more than 35,000 random phone numbers to paint an accurate picture of displacement across South Sudan.

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.