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Free Lula Update
Brazil's former president Lula walks free from prison after supreme court ruling
Workers’ party leader had been held for 580 days for corruption
Court rules incarceration unlawful until appeals exhausted
Brazil’s former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has been released from prison where he was serving a 12-year corruption sentence, after a supreme court ruling that delighted his supporters and infuriated followers of the far-right president Jair Bolsonaro.
Lula was imprisoned in April 2018 after a sentence for corruption and money laundering handed down by the controversial judge Sergio Moro was upheld by an appeal court. He has always proclaimed his innocence and argued the case against him was politically motivated.
On Thursday, Brazil’s supreme court ruled 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 on investigative website the Intercept Brasil that Moro had colluded with prosecutors leading the sweeping corruption investigation, known as Operation Car Wash, into bribes and kickbacks at the state oil company Petrobras that imprisoned Lula, powerful business leaders, middlemen and politicians from his Workers’ party and its political allies.
Polls had showed Lula was leading in last year’s presidential election, but the conviction removed him from the race, giving Bolsonaro a clear run.
Bolsonaro then named Moro his justice minister, heightening the sense of injustice. The president appeared to recognize the former judge’s contribution in a speech on Friday. “If he hadn’t accomplished his mission, I wouldn’t be here either,” Bolsonaro said.
As president from 2003 to 2010, Lula presided over an extraordinary period of economic growth and reduction of inequality as innovative cash transfer schemes took tens of millions out of poverty. Even in prison he has cast a long shadow over Brazilian politics – and his release is only likely to widen bitter political divides.
Read More, no seriously, read more
Trump saying "Read the transcript" is like Jeffery Dahmer saying "Check the fridge."
11/8/2019, 7:53 pm
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