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Fri Nov 8, 2019, 03:58 PM

Brazil's former President Lula da Silva walks free from prison after supreme court ruling

Brazil’s former President Luiz Inácio "Lula" da Silva has been released from prison in the city of Curitiba where he was serving a 12-year corruption sentence, after a supreme court ruling which delighted his supporters and infuriated followers of the far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro.

Lula, 74, was incarcerated in April 2018 after a sentence for corruption and money laundering handed down by the controversial judge Sérgio Moro was upheld by an appeal court.

On Thursday Brazil’s supreme court ruled that defendants could only be imprisoned after all appeals to higher courts had been exhausted, paving the way for Lula and another 5,000 prisoners to be freed.

The decision followed revelations published by the investigative website the Intercept Brasil showing Moro had colluded with prosecutors leading the sweeping graft investigation that imprisoned Lula.

Polls had showed that Lula was leading in last year’s presidential election, but the conviction removed him from the race, giving Bolsonaro a clear run.

At: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/nov/08/lula-brazil-released-prison-supreme-court-ruling

Former Brazilian President Lula da Silva walks among supporters after his release from prison at 5:45 p.m. local time today.

Arguably his country's most prominent political prisoner, he was freed pending appeal following a Brazilian Supreme Court ruling that restored the right of those convicted to await their appeals process in freedom.

His imprisonment 19 months ago paved the way for the election last year of far-right Jair Bolsonaro.

Convicted last year solely on testimony from a contractor kept in a rat-infested dungeon until he incriminated him, the UN considers his detention arbitrary.

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