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  • Supporters of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva protest outside the Supreme Court in Brasilia, Brazil, Nov. 7, 2019.

    Supporters of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva protest outside the Supreme Court in Brasilia, Brazil, Nov. 7, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 8 November 2019

The Brazilian Supreme Court ruled that the arrest of a convicted person before all appeals are exhausted is unconstitutional.

Brazil's former president Lula da Silva's lawyers on Friday morning filed in court a request for his inmediate release based on the decision adopted by the Supreme Court (STF) on Thursday.

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Court Ends Early Prison Rule, Decision Could Free Lula

The Workers' Party leader, who has remained a political prisoner for one year and seven months, could be released from prison after the STF has ruled that the arrest of a convicted person before all appeals are exhausted, as is his case, is unconstitutional.

"Lula is very serene. The STF decision has also given a light of hope that he can have justice," said lawyer Cristiano Zanin after visiting his client at the Curitiba prison.

Zanin also explained that the Supreme Court decision confirmed that the Brazilian constitution does not allow an early execution of a sentence.

"At this time there is nothing that can prevent or delay the issuance of Lula's freedom permit," his defense attorney said and stressed that "any delay will make his imprisonment even more political."

In a similar vein, the Brazilian Association of Jurists for Democracy (ABJD) on Friday said a person cannot be imprisoned if all the appropriate procedures have not been exhausted before.

Lula da Silva, who ruled Brazil from 2003 to 2010, left the office with a high popularity rate thanks to social policies which brought millions of people out of poverty.

In 2018, however, the then Judge Sergio Moro sentenced Lula to prison, which prevented him from participating in the presidential elections whereby Jair Bolsonaro came to power in January 2019.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

At a Police graduation ceremony held in Brasilia on Friday, President Bolsonaro admitted that he would not be where he is now if his current Justice Minister Sergio Moro had not done his job well when he was in charge of the Car Wash operation, that is, the case which served as a pretext to condemn Lula.

"If his mission had not been accomplished well, I would not be here. So, in part, we owe what happens in Brazilian politics to Sergio Moro... maybe he is the strongest link in a chain," Bolsonaro said​.​​​

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