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  • Brazil's former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, leaves for the cemetery to attend the funeral of his 7-year-old grandson, in Sao Bernardo do Campo, Brazil Mar. 2, 2019.

    Brazil's former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, leaves for the cemetery to attend the funeral of his 7-year-old grandson, in Sao Bernardo do Campo, Brazil Mar. 2, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 4 March 2019

Lula da Silva was allowed to meet his family and say goodbye to his grandson only for nine hours before being sent back to prison.

The former Brazilian President and one of the most revered left leaders in Latin America, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was returned to prison nine hours after he was allowed to attend his grandson's funeral.  

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He was at the crematorium for 2 hours before being taken away by the military police for his return back to jail where he arrived within nine hours of leaving the prison.  He could barely meet his followers who gathered in support of the leader. 

The 7-year-old grandson of Lula, Artur Araujo da Silva, died Friday morning in the Barthia Hospital, in Santo Andre, Sao Paulo state, due to complications related to meningococcal meningitis.

This is the second time in which former President Lula tried to leave temporarily to attend a family situation of this kind. On Jan. 29 his brother Genival "Vava" Inacio da Silva died of cancer. The leader of the Workers Party (PT) was not allowed to leave prison on that occasion, even though constitutionally he has the right under these circumstances.

This time, however, he was allowed to leave. On Saturday, a large number of his followers were gathered to greet him. Lula said during the funeral that when he meets Arthur in heaven, he will prove his innocence because the seven-year-old faced bullying in school due to the imprisonment of his grandfather.

The former President Dilma Rousseff and ex-presidential candidate Fernando Haddad were present during the funeral among other PT members. 

Gleisi Hoffmann, a Brazilian lawmaker and national President of PT, said, "Lula is very sad, he says he never expected news like this. He said that it should be forbidden for a father to bury his son or for a grandfather to bury his grandson."

Artur had visited Lula twice in the prison in the southern state of Parana, where the former President has been held since April 7th, 2018, serving a 12-year and one month sentence.

Lula da Silva, who was arrested after being allegedly convicted in the Lava Jato corruption case by a Federal Regional Court, is internationally recognized as a political prisoner. He has maintained his stance of innocence and determined to prove the same. 

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