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Brazil: Luis Inacio da Silva (“Lula”) and other trade unionists: Legal concern

, Index number: AMR 19/001/1981

Luis Inacio da Silva, known as “Lula”, the President of the São Bernardo and Diadema Metal Workers’ Union, and twelve other trade unionists were charged with offences under the Law of National Security in connection with a six week strike by metalworkers in São Paulo in 1980.

Transcribed from scanned original August 2014 so may contain errors
EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 19/01/81
Distr: UA
FOR ACTION ONLY BY THE FOLLOWING NATIONAL SECTIONS:
CANADA (both branches), FRANCE, FRG, NETHERLANDS, SWITZERLAND, UK, USA
UA 51/81 Legal Concern 4 March 1981
BRAZIL: Luis Inacio DA SILVA (“Lula”) and other trade unionists
Luis Inacio da Silva, known as “Lula”, the President of the São Bernardo
and Diadema Metal Workers’ Union, and twelve other trade unionists were charged
with offences under the Law of National Security in connection with a six week
strike by metalworkers in São Paulo in 1980.
On 23 February 1981 Judge Nelson da Silva Machado Guimarães announced
that their trial would take place in o Paulo on 25 February. However, lawyers
defending the trade unionists tried to get the trial postpones after being
informed of the restrictions being imposed which included:
- Only one layer and one relative for each defendant to be present;
- Only 14 Brazilian journalists to be allowed in the court room;
- No foreign journalists and no foreign observers to be admitted;
- No one would be allowed near the court room without army credentials.
The defence lawyers requested that they be allowed more time to prepare
their case and that the trial be transferred to a larger court to enable more
relatives and journalists to attend. They also requested that foreign journalists
be admitted. On 25 February the Supreme Military Tribunal in Brasilia denied
the request for postponement. The Judge suspended the start if the trial for
one hour when neither the defendants nor their lawyers appeared. He then named
new defence lawyers and the trial started in the absence of the defendants.
The sentences were passed in the evening of the same day. “Lula” and three
others, Djalma de Souza Bon, Nilson Timora Simon, and Rubens Teodoro de Arruda
were given sentences of three and a half years.
Five received terms of two and a half years: Gilson Correa de Menenzes, Osmar
Santos de Mendonça, Juracy Baptista Megalhães, Manuel Anisio Gomes, José Maria
de Almeida. Two year sentences were given to Wagner Lino Alves and Nelson
Campanola. Two men were acquitted; José Cicote and José Timoteo da Silva.
At 11.00 pm on 25 February the trade unionists presented themselves to
the military authorities at DOPS (Departamento de Ordem Politica e Social
Department of Political and Social Order) in São Paulo, where they spent the
night. After spending 20 hours in custody they were all released the following
day. They are all to appeal against their sentences to a higher military court.
The defence lawyers are trying to have the judgement against the trade
unionists annulled on the grounds that it contravenes Brazilian law in that
only when the defendants and lawyers in a case have failed to appear on more
than one occasion can the trial go ahead in their absence.
FOR ACTION ONLY BY THE FOLLOWING NATIONAL SECTIONS:
CANADA (both branches), FRANCE, FRG, NETHERLANDS, SWITZERLAND, UK, USA
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Letters expressing concern that:
- the eleven trade unionists were sentenced under the Law of National Security
for peaceful and legitimate trade union activities;
- the trial proceedings were conducted in the absence of the defendants
and their lawyers in contravention of Article 431 paragraph 4 of the
digo Processo Penal Militar (“O julgamento poderá ser adiado por uma
vez, no caso de falta de comparecimento de acusado solto. Na segunda
falta, o julgamento será feito à revelia, com curador nomeado pelo presidente
do Conselho”)
- unusually severe restrictions were imposed by the military judge prohibiting
the attendance of suitably qualified observers which give rise to increased
anxiety about whether the defendants received a fair and just trial
APPEALS FROM LAWYERS, TRADE UNIONISTS AND TRADE UNION ORGANIZATIONS IN PARTICULAR
ARE REQUESTED.
APPEALS TO:
Presidente da Republica Federativa do Brasil
General João Baptista Figueiredo
Gabinete do Presidente
Palacio do Planalto
70.000 Brasilia D.F.
Brasil
Ministro da Justiça do Brasil
Ibrahim Abi Ackel
Ministério da Justiça
Esplanada dos Ministérios bloco B
70.000 Brasilia D.F.
Brazil
COPIES TO:
Sr. Juis Auditor
Nelson da Silva Machado Guimarães
2a Circunscicao de Justica Militar
S0227o Paulo
Brazil
and to either of the following newspapers:
O Estado de São Paulo
Av. Eng. Caetano Alvares 55
São Paulo, Brasil
Folha de São Paulo
A1 Barao de Limeira 425, 4° Andar
São Paulo, Brasil
FINAL DATE FOR ACTION; 15 APR 1981

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