Published: Fri, April 06, 2018
World | By Camille Rivera

Brazil High Court Rejects Lula Appeal to Stay Out of Jail

Brazil High Court Rejects Lula Appeal to Stay Out of Jail

Brazil's former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will be sent to prison while he appeals a corruption conviction, after a late-night ruling by Brazil's highest court early Thursday. He is appealing a corruption conviction. The three reviewing magistrates even lengthened the sentence to 12 years and one month. He may be jailed within one week.

"Brazil's rightwing knows that it wouldn't stand a chance against Lula in this year's elections".

"Brazil scored a goal against impunity and corruption", said Congressman Jair Bolsonaro, a right-leaning former army captain who is second in the polls after da Silva.

He leads preference polls for October's presidential election. But his conviction will likely prevent him from running.

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"It is more political than legal, the political ingredient is very strong in that process, ' said the now head of the Paraguayan National Congress to describe the habeas corpus rejection of Lula's defense". Lula rose from working in a factory to the highest political office in the country.

"Sticking with Lula will just hurt the Workers Party and the left as a whole because other candidates can not emerge", said Claudio Couto, a political science professor at the FGV think tank in Sao Paulo. In January, an appeals court unanimously upheld the conviction and increased the sentence to 12 years. Some exceptions have been made in the past. The country's top electoral court makes final decisions about candidacies beginning in August, but it has been expected to deny da Silva's candidacy under Brazil's "clean slate" law, which disqualifies people who have had criminal convictions upheld. He has said he wants to run for the presidency again in October.

In Sao Paulo, Lula backer Maria Lucia Minoto Silva, a 60-year-old history teacher, was distraught after Weber cast what proved the decisive vote on the court.

Neither of those courts would re-examine whether Lula was guilty of corruption.

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Lula was convicted previous year for taking bribes from an engineering firm in return for help landing contracts with state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA (PETR4.SA). Prosecutors said the money was spent on an apartment for Lula.

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.

In an unrelated case in 2016, the Supreme Federal Tribunal disagreed with that logic, ruling that a convict could start serving a sentence after a first appeal was denied.

Lula's lawyers, who call the case against him a political witch hunt to stop him returning to power, have few legal manoeuvres left in the lower appeals court where he was sentenced for taking bribes in Brazil's biggest corruption scandal. Ashley Thompson was the editor.

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Anthony Boadle reported this story for the Associated Press.

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