Federal Judge Antonio Ivan Athié today (Mar. 25) ruled th release of former Brazilian President Michel Temer, ex-minister Moreira Franco and six other people as part of an operation launched Thursday (21) by the Federal Police and federal prosecutors.
The onetime president had been arrested preventively along with the former minister and other individuals accused of forming a graft ring linked to the construction of the Angra 3 Nuclear Power Plant.
The arrests had been ruled by Federal Judge Marcelo Bretas, spearheading cases connected to Operation Car Wash in Rio de Janeiro.
Judge Athié said he supports Operation Car Wash, but added that “the probes, decisions... anyway, not just what falls under the scope of the operation, but also [any other operations], must ensure all constitutional guarantees and the laws, or they may be considered illegitimate.”
The judge argued that Bretas’s decision cannot be sustained as it was based on “the lack of contemporaneity of the facts.” He also mentioned that Temer and Moreira Franco no longer enjoy the position they occupied when the crimes are believed to have been committed. “Thus, the main reason providing the basis of the granted ruling—to stop the wrongdoing—simply does not exist.”
The move was a preliminary trial court ruling. Habeas corpus petitions are yet to be considered by the authorities, after federal prosecutors are notified of the decision and express an opinion on the matter. No date has been set for such discussion.
Support from the MDB
Representatives from the Brazilian Democratic Movement (MDB)—of which both the former minister and ex-president are members—says Athié’s move “restores order, and acknowledges the arbitrary nature of the decisions previously made.” The party adds it hopes the investigations are conducted “under the law, with the right to defense, until the truth is reestablished.”