It is misleading that former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT) is currently banned from international travel. A video is circulated on Facebook in which federal deputy Bia Kicis (PSL-DF) commemorates the retention of the petista’s passport, which, in fact, occurred. However, as verified by Project Comprova, the court decision that prevented him from going to Ethiopia is old, dated January 25, 2018, as is the video published by Kicis.
The decision that disfavoured the PT leader was that of federal judge Ricardo Leite, of the 10th Federal Court of Justice in Brasília. The decision was widely reported by the press at the time. Lula would board at dawn on the 26th.
Although Kicis’ video is old, a profile was shared recently, implying that this is a current decision. The comment is in a celebratory tone: “I only have one way to express myself: Iiiiiiihuuuuuuu…!!!”
Comprova considered this content to be misleading as it was removed from its original context. Searched, the author of the publication did not respond.
How do we check?
Initially, we searched Google for the following keywords on the subject: Bia Kicis, Lula and passport. Among the main results, three checks on the matter appeared, by UOL Confere, Agência Lupa and Boatos.org.
All the articles verify that the video of Kicis was published on January 25, 2018. This is something that Comprova was also able to confirm. Using the same searched words, the report reached the original video, published on Kicis’ Facebook.
The report also located the request of the Federal Public Ministry for the Court to determine the retention of the passport, the decision of judge Ricardo Leite, partially accepting the request, and the determination that the passport be returned, a week later, by decision of another judge, Bruno Apolinário.
The team contacted the profile responsible for posting the old video on Facebook, but did not get any feedback until this article was published.
The video was also shared by Selma Gonçalves profile in the Bolsonaro 2022 Facebook group on November 8th. On the same day, the post reached 1.2 thousand likes and 468 shares. On November 10, the report found that the post was no longer available. In these cases, Facebook informs you that the person responsible has shared the content with a small group of people, has changed who can see it, or has been deleted. Comprova tried to contact the Selma Gonçalves profile, but there was no return.
The trip to Ethiopia
The decision that prevented Lula from traveling took place on January 25, 2018, motivating Bia Kicis’ video. A day earlier, the TRF-4 (Regional Court of the 4th Region) had sentenced Lula to 12 years and one month in prison, in second instance, for passive corruption and money laundering in the case involving a triplex in Guarujá, on the coast of São Paulo. Paul.
On that occasion, the politician’s lawyer, Cristiano Zanin Martins, issued a statement in which he argued that the client had guaranteed the right to come and go by the Constitution. The next day, Lula’s defense handed his passport to the Federal Police.
In the African country, Lula would participate in a meeting of the UN (United Nations Organization) for Food and Agriculture, with a focus on the discussion of ways to eradicate hunger in the continent by 2025.
The outcome of the action
The Federal Public Ministry’s request for the passport to be withheld was made on January 25, 2018 by attorneys Anselmo Henrique Cordeiro Lopes and Hebert Reis Mesquita. The request, flagged as urgent, was made within the scope of process 0076573-40.2016.4.01.3400, in which the former president and three other people were accused of committing crimes of influence peddling, money laundering and constitution of a criminal organization .
For the two prosecutors, it was necessary to retain Lula’s passport because, the day before, he had been sentenced in second instance by the 8th Panel of the TRF-4, from Curitiba, and the following day the ex-president was scheduled to travel to Ethiopia. In addition, an interrogation of the defendant was scheduled for February 20 of that year.
In the request, the two prosecutors stated that there had been “concrete risk to the legal assets protected in the process and to the guarantee of public order and the application of criminal law, present in article 312 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, by the possible flight from the country of former president, notably to countries without an extradition agreement with Brazil or which could grant him international legal institutes such as political asylum, under the terms of various international diplomas”.
In addition to apprehension of the passport within 24 hours, the MPF asked that the former president be prohibited from leaving the country and prohibited from leaving São Bernardo do Campo or the metropolitan region of São Paulo without prior notice to the court.
On the same day, the substitute judge of the 10th Federal District of the Federal District Ricardo Augusto Soares Leite partially accepted the MPF’s requests, stating that it was public knowledge that the former president’s allies made public statements considering the request, if necessary, for political asylum in “sympathetic” countries. The judge stated in the decision that, even in countries with an extradition agreement, displacement would delay the execution of the sentence.
“At this point, I understand that the very version of the protests generated in his favor, as well as the statement of the accused, who accuses the Judiciary of a blow to his disfavor, militate in the sense that he does not avoid an attempt to establish his address in any other country. His permanence in another State would then only be the exercise of a ‘supposed’ right of defense, against the authoritarian action of the constituted powers. In view of this posture, I believe that a more direct and effective action is necessary to curb this type of claim,” says the judge.
He disagreed with the MPF’s request only on the issue relating to the need to communicate national trips, as he understood that, in these cases, there was “no suitability to violate the application of criminal law”. The seizure of the passport within 24 hours, then, was determined on January 25, the day before Lula’s trip to Ethiopia.
The former president’s lawyer, Cristiano Zanin Martins, said in a note that the client had the right to come and go, but handed Lula’s passport to the Federal Police on January 26, 2018. One week later, on February 2 , another federal judge in the Federal District ordered the return of the passport.
According to information from the TRF-1 itself, judge Bruno Apolinário ordered the return of his passport and the removal of Lula’s name from the Federal Police’s National System of Wanted and Impeded Persons. He took into account the defense’s arguments about the former president’s right to come and go and stated that any other precautionary measure should be based on the existence of concrete elements of risks to public order.
The magistrate also stressed, according to the TRF-1, that “there is no way of concluding that the patient intended to flee the country in order to frustrate the application of our criminal law. On the contrary, it is clear in his conduct the care to demonstrate, especially to the Judiciary, that his departure from the country was justified by a professional commitment previously scheduled, in this case, a trip to Ethiopia where he would participate in an event promoted by the African Union Commission.”
Lula in Europe
Currently, there are no travel restrictions for the former president. On the 11th, he starts an agenda of meetings with left-wing political leaders in Europe, in Germany, Belgium, France and Spain.
On November 16, the PT will participate, in France, in a conference on Brazil at Sciences Po (Institute of Political Studies of Paris). The conference, held by one of the most respected research centers in the world, is held 10 years after Lula was the first Latin American leader to receive the title of Doctor Honoris Causa from the institute.
That same day, Lula will meet the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo. The following day, Lula receives the Political Courage 2021 award, given by Politique Internationale for his tenure in the Presidency of the Republic.
In Spain, on the 18th and 19th of November, the former president will also participate in a conference and meeting with politicians from the PSOE (Spanish Socialist Workers Party) and Podemos.
Why do we investigate?
In its fourth phase, Comprova checks suspicious content that has gone viral about the pandemic, public policies of the federal government and elections, like this one, which, until November 10, had at least 957 shares and 4.6 thousand views on Facebook.
By releasing the video again without explaining the context in which it was recorded and released in 2018, the Marco Aurélio profile confuses internet users who view the content, leading to the interpretation that currently Lula has his passport confiscated.
Although there are comments stating that the news is from 2018, most of them show that netizens believe it is a current post.
Lula is a pre-candidate for the presidency of the Republic. The propagation of misleading content related to names that intend to contest the election harms democracy. Voters are free to decide who they will vote for, but decisions should not be made based on misinformation.
Misleading, for Comprova, is all content taken from its original context and used in another so that its meaning changes.
Comprova performed this verification based on information available on the 10th November 2021.