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Supreme Court rejects Brazil ex-President Lula's bid to avoid prison

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Staff Writer | Thursday April 5, 2018 6:49AM ET
Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva
LatAm   Lula is facing accusations of corruption

Brazil's Supreme Federal Court judges voted early Thursday to reject former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's plea to avoid prison.


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After over 10 hours of session, there were six votes against the habeas corpus and five for it. The deciding vote was cast by court President Carmen Lucia Rocha.

With the habeas corpus denied, Lula can be arrested any time, which will prevent him from participating in this year's presidential elections.

He is facing accusations of corruption and money laundering. He is alleged to have received an apartment for favoring certain companies in government contracts. Lula denies owning the apartment.

His defense team said the prosecution did not manage to present evidence that Lula is the owner. There is no contract in his name, no documents attesting his ownership, and nothing more than the testimony of other defendants who gave evidence against him in exchange for leniency.

Lula was found guilty and sentenced to prison for nine and a half years in 2017.

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

According to Brazilian law, after being found guilty by the appeals court, the former president can be arrested and made to start serving his sentence before all avenues of appeal are exhausted.

 

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