Brazil’s top court suspends Lula’s jail sentence

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Rio de Janeiro, March 23 (IANS) Brazil’s Supreme Federal Court granted former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva temporary jail relief until April.

To prevent his possible arrest, Lula’s defence team filed a pre-emptive habeas corpus request to the Supreme Court so that he could remain free until all possible appeals about his case are judged, Xinhua News Agency reported.

The Supreme Court voted to analyse the request on Thursday. An actual analysis of the request was postponed to April 4.

Under Brazilian law, which requests defendants to serve their sentence after the second trial, Lula should have already been arrested because his conviction was upheld.

Lula was found guilty of corruption and money laundering in the first trial in 2017 and was sentenced to prison for nine and a half years.

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On January 24, an appeals court rejected a motion to overturn his conviction for money laundering and accepting bribes. The court also stiffened his initial nine-year sentence to more than 12 years.

Lula had earlier announced his decision to run again for President in October and was the front-runner in previous opinion polls, despite facing the 12-year sentence.

However, political analysts say Lula’s conviction means he is likely to be barred from participating in the Presidential campaign, whether he is jailed or not.

–IANS

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