Jailed ex-Brazil President Lula to attend grandson’s funeral

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Brasilia, March 2 (IANS) Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has been granted leave from prison to attend his seven-year-old grandson’s funeral, who died of meningitis.

The boy died on Friday, and the jailed former head of state has been allowed to go to the burial in Sao Paulo on Saturday, the BBC reported.

The 73-year-old leader had asked permission to attend his brother’s funeral in January, but the Supreme Court did not allow until the funeral was already underway.

However, Parana state government said Lula would be allowed to attend his grandson Arthur’s funeral.

Arrangements were being made to fly him to the city, which is roughly 340 kilometres away from the federal prison in Curitiba, where he is lodged.

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This will be Lula’s first time out after his conviction in April 2018.

Lula, as he is known, was sentenced to 12 years in prison on corruption charges in 2018. He maintains that his conviction was politically motivated.

An iconic figure for the Left in Latin America, the former trade unionist led Brazil between 2003 and 2010.

His was the most high-profile conviction from a sprawling anti-corruption probe named ‘Operation Car Wash’ that has been dubbed “the largest foreign bribery case in history” by the US Department of Justice.

His supporters insist he is the victim of political persecution, with his left-wing Worker’s Party petitioning for his release, the BBC reported.

He was convicted for work done on a beach front property. He was found guilty of taking renovation work from a company implicated in a corruption scandal.

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In February a court doubled Lula’s sentence, which will be contested, his lawyer has said. President Jair Bolsonaro has said he hoped Lula “rots in prison”.

–IANS

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