Lawyers of January 8 prisoners go to Congress to denounce STF ‘illegalities’ and ‘abuses’

More than 55 lawyers for the prisoners on January 8 came to Congress this Tuesday, the 9th, to denounce “illegalities”, “abuses” and “distortion of procedures and constitutional guarantees” by the Federal Supreme Court (STF).

“We lawyers are being silenced”, said lawyer Bruno Jordano. “Even oral support, a sublime moment for the defense, was removed from the process. We are defending the right of defense. All citizens have the right to be heard, but these people have been silenced. Federal due process needs to be preserved.”

As of midnight today, the STF began judging the fourth set of complaints filed by the Attorney General’s Office against those accused of involvement in acts of vandalism in Praça dos Três Poderes. Minister Alexandre de Moraes, rapporteur of the case, was the first to vote to make the more than 250 defendants defendants.

According to the lawyers, when the complaint is offered by the Public Ministry, it goes to the plenary of the STF, and the accused have the right to a “prior defense”.

Lawyers then make a prior written defense. In addition, the defense is entitled to make an oral argument defending the client. “The internal regulations of the STF provide for this”, said lawyer Carolina Sievra. Support also involves personal discussions with ministers.

Due to the pandemic, lawyers had to record 15-minute videos making support to post in the STF system. The recordings were to be listened to and watched by ministers. However, according to the lawyers present at the Congress, Moraes did not do this with the cases of the January 8 prisoners.

“Some fellow lawyers posted the video on the website at 11:57 pm on the last day of the established deadline, and Minister Moraes cast his vote at zero o’clock, with 24 pages”, explained lawyer Carolina. “It is unlikely that he attended. Even more than 250 people were entitled to defense. We consider that he didn’t watch the videos and we know that based on his decision, as he didn’t put any point that would be particular to each person. They are always generic things, which is prohibited in our legal system.”

Carolina highlighted that the prisoners of January 8th are ordinary people who do not have a privileged jurisdiction, therefore they should be being tried by federal judges, as the Constitution provides, in article 109.

“The STF usurps the legitimate jurisdiction of the Federal Court and takes away the right to the double degree of jurisdiction, provided for by law”, continued the lawyer. “We are not asking for privileges, but for prisoners to be judged according to the law. When we set this precedent, we are very close to a state of exception. To take away from these people the right to have a natural judge and defense arguments is to mortally wound the Constitution.”

Ruth Moraes