Brazilian president's pardons ignite corruption row

2017-12-23 21:59
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Rio de Janeiro - President Michel Temer was on Saturday accused of handing Brazilians convicted of corruption a get out of jail card with changes to the traditional collective Christmas pardon.

Temer, who has been charged with corruption himself, issued the annual decree but invoked ire after expanding the categories of prisoners eligible for early release.

The main shift was to lift the previous exclusion on all those serving sentences of more than 12 years. Under Temer's changes, the length of sentence no longer matters and a prisoner also needs only to have served 20% of the sentence to qualify, rather than 25% as under the previous rules.

"It's a Christmas party for the corrupt," lashed out Deltan Dallagnol, one of the chief prosecutors in operation "Car Wash," as the biggest anti-corruption probe in Brazilian history is known.

Dallagnol referred to the case of construction tycoon Marcelo Odebrecht who was released into house arrest a few days ago as part of a steep reduction of his sentence in exchange for providing devastating testimony to "Car Wash" investigators.

Originally, Odebrecht had been sentenced to more than 19 years in prison, but saw that cut to 10 years, with only two and a half behind bars and a transfer now to his luxury Sao Paulo house.

His testimony and that of fellow company executives was used to go after scores of politicians who allegedly took bribes.

Temer's decree will undermine prosecutors' bargaining power in such cases, Dallagnol said.


Read more on:    michel temer  |  brazil  |  corruption

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