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Brazil: Lula is free

  • Brazil: Lula is free
    Lula was greeted on Friday by delirious supporters outside the federal police headquarters in the city of Curitiba where he has been imprisoned for 580 days. Brazil: Lula is free
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Politics
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Lula was greeted on Friday by delirious supporters outside the federal police headquarters in the city of Curitiba where he has been imprisoned for 580 days.

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 which delighted his supporters and infuriated followers of the far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro.

Lula was greeted on Friday by delirious supporters outside the federal police headquarters in the city of Curitiba where he has been imprisoned for 580 days.

Lula 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.

Bolsonaro then made Moro his justice minister, heightening the sense of injustice.

Lula presided over an extraordinary period of economic growth and reduction of inequality as president from 2003 to 2010. Even in prison he has cast a long shadow over political debate in Brazil – but his release is only likely to widen political divides here.

“His freedom does not change a divided country,” said Carlos Melo, a professor of political science at Insper, a São Paulo business school. “Let’s see if this stays on social media … The atmosphere is a little tense.”

Earlier on Friday, Bolsonaro’s vice-president, Gen Hamilton Mourão, criticised the decision on Twitter. “Where is the rule of law in Brazil?” he tweeted.

 In Brazil, the federal justice of Parana authorized the release of the former Brazilian president, Inacio Lula da Silva, who had been serving a sentence of 8 years and 10 months for corruption since April 2018.
The sentence follows the decision of the Supreme Court, which has decided to eliminate the rule that imposes prison sentences if they lose their first appeal, stating that the handcuffs cannot be triggered before all degrees of judgment have been expressed. "

"Lula returns to freedom. A great president who fought against poverty and for the redemption of the Brazilian people," Paolo Gentiloni wrote on Twitter.The first thing that Luiz Inacio Lula said he wanted to do, released from prison, is to remarry. Still beloved by the Brazilians, Lula, 73, had made it known last May, when the sentence of the Supreme Court that establishes the indispensability of all levels of judgment to be able to keep a man in prison was still far off. "He's in love, and the first thing he's going to do is get married," his former minister, Luiz Carlos Bresser-Pereira, wrote on Facebook and visited him in the Curitiba penitentiary.

The former Brazilian president is today an icon of the left in the country led by Jair Bolsonaro, and perhaps the man most feared by the current head of state. The two convictions for corruption and money laundering, one at 8 and the other at 12, were not enough to make the Brazilians forget the years in which "Lula" (a nickname he used since he was a trade unionist of metallurgists: from 1975 and for almost in the eighties, in full dictatorship, he challenged the ruling military by organizing powerful strikes from the head of the union) he led the largest power in Latin America from 2003 to 2010. Undisputed leader of the Workers' Party, which he co-founded , Lula wins the presidency with a social economy program which, according to official estimates, has taken 29 million people out of poverty. When he leaves power he has a popularity rate of over 80%, which will benefit Dilma Roussef, the party companion who succeeded him as president.

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