The United Nations Human Rights Committee issued on Friday (17) a document asking the Brazilian government to acknowledge the political rights of former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
The Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Relations released a statement informing the UN request is going to be directed to the Judiciary and that the conclusions of the committee are "recommendations", with "no legally binding effect".
"The committee's deliberation content is going to be directed to the Judiciary Branch", reads the ministry's note. "The Committee, the supervisory body of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, is comprised not of countries, but of experts who perform the function in their personal capacity. The conclusions of the committee have the character of recommendations and have no legally binding effect."
The committee's move is a reply to a query sent by the one-time president's lawyers earlier this year. At the moment, Justice Luís Roberto Barroso of the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) is the rapporteur for Lula's candidacy registration. Lula was convicted by an appellate court and is currently serving prison time in Curitiba (south Brazil).
The UN Human Rights Committee released a 20-line document. The document says that Lula, although imprisoned, should enjoy and exercise his political rights as a presidential candidate, including appropriate access to the media and members of his political party.
The UN experts also say that if the recommendation is not followed, Lula's right to vote and being voted may suffer "irreparable harm". The document reiterates that the request "does not imply that any decision has been reached on the substance of the matter."
Lula was sentenced to 12 years and one month in prison for money laundering and passive corruption in the case of a triplex apartment in coastal Guarujá, state of São Paulo. Since April 7, he is serving time at the Federal Police Superintendency in Curitiba.
The former president's defense believes the UN recommendation is a recognition of the violation of Lula's civil and political rights. Lawyers Cristiano and Valeska Zanin Martins also understand that the one-time president is able to take part in the electoral run.
In the defense's view, Lula is able to run until there is an unappealable decision, following a fair judicial procedure. They also request that the former president is granted full access to the press and to members of his political party during the campaign.