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Tue May 23, 2017, 11:35 PM

Brazil woman got longer jail term for Easter egg theft than corruption culprits

  • Woman in São Paulo state given three-year sentence for shoplifting chocolate
  • Sentence exceeds punishments given to those found guilty in Lava Jato case

    Jonathan Watts in Rio de Janeiro
    Tuesday 23 May 2017 11.54 EDT

    Even for a country numbed by injustice and inequality, Brazil has been shocked by revelations that a poor mother who stole an Easter egg for her children was condemned to a harsher jail sentence than corporate executives and politicians who cheated the public of millions of dollars.

    The woman – who is referred to only by her first name, Maria – was sentenced to three years, two months and three days in prison for shoplifting a chocolate egg and a chicken breast from a supermarket in Matão, São Paulo in 2015, according to local media.

    She was kept in detention for five months before her trial, then found guilty of a first-degree crime. Although she was briefly remanded during her appeal, a second judge sent her to prison pregnant in November 2016. She has since given birth – to her fourth child – behind bars, and is now nursing her baby son in a overcrowded cell. Once the child is six months, it will be taken from her care.

    The case is far from unusual, but it has drawn public attention because of an appeal by a legal ombudsman and a newspaper article that drew damning comparisons with the laxer punishments handed down to those convicted of far greater crimes in the Lava Jato (Car Wash) case, a sprawling corruption investigation which has implicated a string of major figures in Brazilian politics and business.


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