Brazil's Lula Must Begin Prison Sentence During Appeals, High Court Rules

Brazil's Supreme Court rules ex-president Lula can be jailed while appealing corruption conviction

A sprawling corruption investigation involving the state-run oil company Petrobras, dubbed Operation Car Wash, "has ensnared numerous country's politicians and business figures in high-profile allegations", as The Two-Way reported, including the current conservative president, Michel Temer, and executives at the meatpacking company JBS. Despite the legal troubles that have angered some Brazilians, da Silva leads preference polls to return to office. He is the front-runner in all opinion polls for the presidential election in October, but his conviction will likely bar him from running. According to polling institute Datafolha, 53% want him jailed.

Following the court's narrow decision against allowing Lula to remain free pending new appeals, it was expected that Brazil's chief anti-corruption judge, Sergio Moro, would soon issue an order for the two-term former president to be incarcerated.

Under a 2010 Brazilian law called "clean slate law", no one convicted of a crime upheld on appeal can run for elected office for at least eight years.

Brazil's former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva wipes sweat from his face during his presidential campaign rally with members of his Workers Party and leaders of other left-wing parties in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday, April 2, 2018.

A former metalworker and trade union activist, he was the first left-wing leader to make it to the presidency in Brazil in almost half a century.

"The constitution secures individual rights, which are fundamental to democracy, but it also assures the exercise of criminal law", she said.

Da Silva, who is known commonly as Lula, was convicted of corruption and money laundering last July and was and sentenced to nearly 10 years of imprisonment.

Wednesday's nationally televised session at the Supreme Federal Tribunal comes a time of high tension in Latin America's largest nation.

More protests - for and against Lula - were planned in Brasilia on Wednesday, with demonstrators separated by a metal barrier and heavy police presence.

Investigators uncovered a major scheme in which construction companies essentially formed a cartel that doled out inflated contracts from state oil company Petrobras, paying billions in kickbacks to politicians and businessmen. He denies any wrongdoing in that case or in several other corruption cases that have yet to be tried. In August, the country's top electoral court makes final decisions about candidacies.

Lula himself was convicted of receiving a renovated beachfront apartment worth some 3.7 million reais ($1.1m, £790,000), as a bribe by engineering firm OAS.

Lula has described the battle against his conviction and prison term as a continuation of his fight against Brazil's military rule, which came to an end in 1985.



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