Brazil ruling could block Lula's re-election as president

06 April, 2018, 01:59 | Author: Roderick Gutierrez
  • Brazil's supreme court rules ex-President Lula can be jailed for corruption pending appeal

Brasília [Brazil]: Quashing his bid to return to power, Brazil's Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that the country's former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will be imprisoned while he appeals his corruption conviction.

Rafael Guedes told journalists that the order will "put the spotlight even more on the ex-president".

The ruling likely ends his political career and any chances he has of running for president, despite opinion polls showing he would easily win a first-round vote in an election scheduled for October.

Until recently, defendants in Brazil were allowed to remain free until their final appeal had been exhausted.

The pivotal vote was cast by Justice Rosa Weber against Lula's request to avoid jail and begin serving his 12-year sentence for accepting bribes.

"We consider this to be a political imprisonment, an imprisonment that will expose Brazil before the world", said Gleisi Hoffmann, chairwoman of the Workers' Party.

Lula was convicted of corruption and money laundering in July of a year ago.

On the eve of the session, the country's army commander raised eyebrows - and was widely celebrated and condemned online - with tweets subtly supporting da Silva's incarceration.


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

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

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.

Demonstrators against Brazil's former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva celebrate Supreme Court justices' votes as they are made public outside the National Congress in Brasilia, Brazil. The conviction was handed down by Judge Sergio Moro, who is presiding over cases involving the so-called "Car Wash" investigation. He denies any wrongdoing in that case or in several other corruption cases that have yet to be tried.

The decision as to whether Lula can stand for president will rest with the Superior Electoral Court (TSE).

He was convicted past year of helping a construction company get sweetheart contracts in exchange for the promise of a beachfront apartment.

"In Brazil's current situation, it's worth asking our institutions and the people who is really thinking about what is best for the country and future generations, and who is only anxious about their personal interests?" he wrote in one tweet.

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