Brazil braces for release of ex-President

Elias Hubbard
November 9, 2019

The court's split decision on Thursday directly applied to da Silva, who has spent about a year and a half in prison following his conviction on corruption and money laundering charges.

The order was handed down just one day after the country's Supreme Court ruled that convicted defendants can not be jailed until their appeals to higher courts have been exhausted.

The politically charged ruling is expected to free scores of high-profile convicts in the so-called "Car Wash" investigation of public corruption, including Lula, as the former president is known, who was behind bars for a bribery conviction.

In a separate Supreme Court debate, justices will decide whether Moro was biased when he delivered his rulings.

"Our judicial battle continues, our focus is to obtain the nullification of the legal case".

Da Silva, who governed from 2003 to 2010, had been favored to win the 2018 presidential election, but his conviction eventually prohibited him from running.

He was sentenced to nearly 13 years in jail in February in a separate corruption case and still faces another half dozen corruption trials. Lula was expected to run for president again in 2018 before being imprisoned, and was still featured heavily in ads for the campaign of the candidate of his Workers' Party, Fernando Haddad, who lost to Bolsonaro.

"You have no idea the dimension of the significance of me being here with you", Da Silva told jubilant supporters, thanking individual union leaders and members of his leftist Workers' Party.

"If all the others did worse and are free, why not him too?"

The move thrusts the charismatic and highly-influential 74 year-old politician back into the spotlight at a highly polarized time in Brazilian politics.

Bolsonaro has been unusually quiet about the court's ruling that could free his nemesis.

"Thousands of prisoners will be released and rattle everyone, regardless of their political beliefs, generating serious internal and external social and economic reactions", Carlos Bolsonaro tweeted.

Moro said in a statement earlier on Friday that the top court's decision must be respected, and lawmakers can now change the constitution to make prison time mandatory after a first failed appeal.

"The thing that makes Lula most unsafe to Bolsonaro is that Lula understands the long game", said James Bosworth, founder of Hxagon, a political risk analysis firm, stressing that the politician had run four times before being first elected in 2003.

Lula will be barred from standing for office because of his criminal record.

"The thing that makes Lula most unsafe to Bolsonaro is that Lula understands the long game", said James Bosworth, founder of Hxagon, a political risk analysis firm, stressing that the politician had run four times before being first elected in 2003.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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