RIO DE JANEIRO – A federal judge in Brasilia ordered on Thursday the confiscation of former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s passport and banned him from leaving Brazil.
The order against Lula came after the ex-head of state was sentenced to 12 years and one month in prison for corruption and money laundering the day before, according to the Brazilian Federal Police and the Ministry of Justice.
The order, which has already been given to the Federal Police, responsible for passport control at airports, was issued a few hours before the former head of state’s scheduled trip to Ethiopia to join an event on the fight against hunger, organized by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) during the 30th Summit of the African Union.
The order was delivered by the 10th federal judge of Brasilia, Ricardo Leite, in a trial different from the one that convicted Lula on Wednesday, and was confirmed by the Federal Police and the Ministry of Justice.
“The general director of the Federal Police, Fernando Segovia, communicated by telephone on Thursday night to the Justice Minister, Torquato Jardim, the decision of the Federal Justice to prevent the former president from leaving the country,” according to a media advisory by the ministry.
According to the same source, the minister urged the Federal Police director to inform Lula of the decision at his residence so as to avoid possible difficult situations.
The head of Lula’s defense team, Cristiano Zanin Martins, said he was “terrified” by the court order because the court that sentenced the former president knew of his trip to Ethiopia and did not object.
According to the lawyer, the former head of state’s freedom of movement is guaranteed by the Constitution, which would impose a restriction only in the case of a conviction against which there are no further appeals.