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Tough sentence in corruption case

In brief

In November, Brazil’s Supreme Court handed José Dirceu a prison sentence of ten years and ten months for corruption.

Dirceu used to serve as chief of staff during the presidency of Lula da Silva. The affair, which is called Mensalão (monthly allowance), was about buying votes for the president in the legislature. Dirceu’s trial caused much excitement in Brazil because politicians’ crimes were hardly prosecuted in the past. Typically, holders of public office could expect impunity. Dirceu insists he is not guilty and speaks of a “political trial”. Lula da Silva says he was not aware of any wrong-doing at the time. Our picture shows cut-outs that demonstrators used to protest against political corruption in August. The one in front has Dirceu’s face. (dem)