Brazil's former president Lula walks free from prison
Brazil’s former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was greeted by overjoyed supporters as he was released from prison, where he was serving a 12-year corruption sentence, after a supreme court ruling.
Iran Press/America: He was greeted by hundreds of supporters wearing red vests emblazoned with his face outside the federal police headquarters in the city of Curitiba, where he has been imprisoned for 580 days.
In a speech to the crowd, Lula thanked party militants who had camped outside throughout his imprisonment and attacked the “rotten side” of the police, prosecutors, tax office and justice system for jailing him, Guardian reported.
“They did not imprison a man. They tried to kill an idea,” he said. “ Brazil did not improve, Brazil got worse. The people are going hungry. The people are unemployed. The people do not have formal jobs. People are working for Uber – they’re riding bikes to deliver pizzas.”
Lula was imprisoned in April 2018 after a sentence for corruption and money laundering handed down by the controversial judge Sergio Moro was upheld by an appeal court. He has always proclaimed his innocence and argued the case against him was politically motivated.
On Thursday, Brazil’s supreme court ruled defendants could only be imprisoned after all appeals to higher courts had been exhausted, paving the way for Lula and another 5,000 prisoners to be freed.
The decision followed revelations on the investigative website the Intercept Brasil that Moro had led the sweeping corruption investigation, known as Operation Car Wash, into bribes and kickbacks at the state oil company Petrobras that imprisoned Lula, powerful business leaders, middlemen, and politicians from his Workers’ party and its political allies.