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Lula petitions UN alleging rights abuses in Carwash probe
[SAO PAULO] Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva petitioned the United Nations over what he alleges to be violations of his human rights by a judge heading Brazil's largest corruption probe.
Human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson, who filed a petition with the UN Commission on Human Rights on Lula's behalf, alleged that investigators heading the Carwash probe violated Lula's rights and wants Federal Judge Sergio Moro be removed from the probe for overstepping his legal authority.
Judge Moro, who has led the investigation that's seen prominent executives and politicians sent to prison, earlier this year ordered Lula detained for questioning.
Judge Moro also released audio tapes of a telephone conversation between Lula and President Dilma Rousseff, which Robertson characterised as a violation of Lula's international, civil and political rights.
"Lula should have a judge who is not influenced by public feelings," said Mr Robertson from London, in a conference call with journalists.
Brazil's Acting President Michel Temer will be notified by the UN regarding the petition, and Brazilian authorities will have six months to respond.
The petition comes only days before the Senate resumes an impeachment process against Rousseff. The country's largest corruption scandal and the deepest recession in over a century have tainted Lula's legacy and the prospects for their Workers' Party ahead of municipal elections in October.
Prosecutors last week accused Lula of trying to obstruct a sweeping corruption probe into bribes at state-run companies that has rocked Brazil's political and business establishment.
Rousseff was forced to step down in May and face an impeachment trial on charges of doctoring budget figures.
"Lula won't accept violation on his fundamental rights," said Cristiano Zanin Martins, also a lawyer for the former president. "We expect the UN to present an analysis that will serve as a guide, and Lula's process starts following the law and international treaties signed by Brazil."
The UN can make recommendations on Lula's case, advising Brazilian authorities to review and correct procedures, according to the lawyers.