Brazil is governed by 'gang of madmen': Jailed former president Lula

Rio de Janeiro, State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Published: Apr 27, 2019, 08:17 AM(IST)

Brazilian former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Photograph:( AFP )

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'I know very well the place history holds for me. And I also know who will be in the dumpster,' said Lula.

Former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Friday said the country is governed by a "gang of madmen" in his first interview from prison, where he is serving an almost nine-year sentence.

The leftist ex-leader, 73, reiterated his innocence and told newspapers El Pais and Folha de Sao Paulo he is "obsessed" with "unmasking" those behind his conviction, which has seen him incarcerated for the past year for bribery and money laundering.

"I know very well the place history holds for me. And I also know who will be in the dumpster," said Lula, charismatic as ever in video clips published by Spanish newspaper El Pais's Brazilian edition.

The interview is the first Lula has given since he was arrested in April of last year.

"It can't be that this country is governed by this gang of madmen ... the country doesn't deserve that and above all the people don't deserve that," Folha de S Paulo reported Lula as saying of President Jair Bolsonaro's far-right administration.

Bolsonaro entered office in January, defeating Workers' Party candidate Fernando Haddad, who replaced Lula after he was banned from running.

Lula was convicted as part of Operation Car Wash, a wide reaching probe into corruption surrounding state oil firm Petrobras.

But from the start, Lula has maintained he is the victim of a campaign to prevent a leftist leader from returning to power.

This week, an appeals court reduced his 12-year sentence to eight years and 10 months. 

The ruling could mean Lula is eligible for "semi-open" prison later this year.

Lula is also appealing a second sentence of almost 13 years handed down in February for accepting renovation work by two construction companies on a farmhouse in exchange for ensuring they won contracts with Petrobras. If that sentence is upheld, it will be added to the previous one.

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