Ex-president Da Silva: Brazil governed by 'crazy people'

ADDS DA SILVA'S SENTENCE REDUCTION - Supporter of Brazil's former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, holds signs with text that reads in Portuguese "Free Lula" and "Lula Innocent" during a vigil in front of the headquarters of the Superior Court of Justice, in Brasilia, Brazil, Tuesday, April 23, 2019. Da Silva, who was found guilty of passive corruption and money laundering, has been in jail since April of last year. Brazil’s second highest court is reducing the sentence of incarcerated ex-president Luis Inacio Lula da Silva from 12 years and one month to eight years and 10 months. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)

RIO DE JANEIRO — From the federal police headquarters where he is serving a sentence for corruption and money laundering, Brazil's former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said the South American country is now being governed by a "bunch of crazy people."

Da Silva, who governed Brazil from 2003 to 2010, said Brazilians should look at themselves in the mirror after the election of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, who has garnered world attention for his promises to open up the Amazon to development, and comments seen as offensive to minorities and the LGBT community.

"We are going to do a general self-criticism in this country. This country cannot be governed by the bunch of crazy people who govern it," said da Silva, who is commonly known as Lula, in an interview with the newspapers El Pais and Folha de S. Paulo. "The country doesn't deserve this and more importantly the people don't deserve this."

The Workers' Party leader has been held in the city of Curitiba since April 2018, after a second court ratified the sentence handed down by former judge Sergio Moro, who is now Brazil's justice minister. Da Silva was convicted of corruption and money laundering over a beachfront apartment that prosecutors say he received from a construction company in exchange for lucrative government contracts.

"I am obsessed with unmasking judge Moro and those who sentenced me. I want to expose the farce that was mounted in the Justice Department of the United States," asserted the ex-president in the first interview to be authorized by authorities since he was jailed.

Tuesday, in a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court reduced the penalty of the former president from 12 years to eight years and 10 months. If he doesn't receive any new sentences before then, he could enter a semi-open prison regime in September.

Although he focused his criticism on Moro, Brazil's former president was also found guilty by a second court and also by the Supreme Court.

"I know very well my place in history. I reaffirm my innocence," da Silva said.

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