Brazil's ex-president Lula released from prison

Brazilian ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva gestures after attending a Catholic Mass in memory of his late wife Marisa Leticia, AFP

Supporters hope Lula will "leave the room where he has been kidnapped for 580 days, walk among the people and come to the vigil, hug the people, and we hug him, to share this special moment", Roberto Baggio, coordinator of the Free Lula camp outside the jail, told AFP.

Despite being in jail, he was one of the top candidates to run against President Jair Bolsonaro and had been leading the polls until a judge annulled his eligibility to run.

If he is freed, Lula´s criminal record will prevent him from resuming his political career.

The iconic leader of the Worker's Party was serving a 12-year sentence since 2018 on corruption charges in which executives of the state-run Petrobas oil company are accused of accepting bribes in exchange for construction contracts.

The left-winger led Brazil between 2003 and 2010 and remains popular. The former president is universally known in Brazil as Lula.

The court docket docket determined in a six-five vote late Thursday that a explicit particular person may be imprisoned exclusively simply in spite of everything appeals to larger courts have been exhausted.

Brazil's former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (C) leaves the Federal Police building in Curitiba, southern Brazil, on November 8, 2019.

He called for a rally on Saturday at the metalworkers union on the outskirts of Sao Paulo where he got his political start, pledging to follow that up with a national tour. He maintains that he was framed by his political opponents.

Judge Danilo Pereira Junior said on Friday the leftist leader could leave jail in the southern city of Curitiba where he's been since 2018 serving a sentence for corruption, according to a court document.

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The politically charged ruling could liberate Lula, as the former president is known, who is now behind bars for corruption.

Da Silva's case is the most prominent both because of his political stature and the fact he has appeals pending in both of Brazil's top courts.

Da Silva could still end up back in prison if he exhausts all his appeals.

The court decided in a 6-5 vote late Thursday that a person can be imprisoned only after all appeals to higher courts have been exhausted.

Hundreds of Lula's supporters gathered outside the jail, cheering and applauding the former leader.

The former president received a sentence of almost nine years for a bribery conviction and is one of many high-profile convicts in the "Car Wash" investigation of public corruption.

Moro said Friday that the Supreme Court's decision must be respected, but he also said that Congress could modify the Constitution to allow convicts to be jailed after their first appeal. The former president wound up behind bars after he was swept up in the highly publicized "Carwash" corruption scandal, which also affected several politicians, including fellow ex-Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.

"And don't forget, Lula is free to walk but he has not been acquitted so he can not be a candidate", added Barreto.

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