Brazilian judge orders Lula's arrest by Friday

Lucy Bush
April 7, 2018

A Brazilian judge has issued an arrest warrant for former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, whose bid to return to power was quashed when the country's Supreme Court ruled 12 years of imprisonment for 12 years for Lula.

Federal Judge Sergio Moro, who has handled the bulk of cases in Brazil's biggest-ever graft investigation and issued Lula's prison order, wrote that he should not be handcuffed and would have a special cell in Curitiba, where he stood trial.

Lula, who has been leading the presidential polls despite his legal battles, denies any wrongdoing, saying he is being persecuted to prevent him from running for re-election. It was expected to deny da Silva's candidacy under Brazil's "clean slate" law, which disqualifies people who have had criminal convictions upheld.

Lula was convicted a year ago of receiving a seaside apartment as a bribe from a construction company.

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Latin America's largest nation prepared for what would have been unimaginable just a few years ago: the arrest of former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, a once wildly popular leader whose administrations were credited with bringing millions out of poverty in one of the world's most unequal countries. The three reviewing magistrates even lengthened the sentence to 12 years and one month.

Lula's left-wing Workers Party announced that the former president would address a rally in his home town of Sao Bernardo do Campo, a suburb of Sao Paulo, today. Party leader Gleisi Hoffmann said the court ruling violated "constitutional law and the presumption of innocence" and made Brazil "look like a little banana republic".

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Lula's likely imminent incarceration throws into chaos his plan to stage a comeback in an October presidential election.

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Likewise polls also show that Lula who had world record breaking support ratings when he stepped down from office in 2011, now also has a very significant rejection percentage, which questions how high and where, his support ceiling really stands.

He said there was a massive media campaign against him and another former Brazilian president, Dilma Rousseff.

The Workers Party has refused to openly discuss an alternative to nominating Lula to run. Over the last four years, Brazilians have experienced near weekly police operations and arrests of elite, from top politicians to businessmen like former Odebrecht CEO Marcelo Odebrecht. Rousseff was impeached and removed from office in a corruption scandal and economic crisis in mid-2016.

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