HAVANA TIMES – A decision from Brazil’s top court has paved the way for the possible release of imprisoned former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and thousands of other inmates who are appealing their convictions, reported dpa news.
In a 6-5 vote, the Federal Supreme Court decided on Thursday that an individual’s imprisonment based solely on a criminal conviction can take place only after all possibilities for appealing the decision have been exhausted.
The National Council of Justice says that as many as 5,000 prisoners in Brazil could benefit from the decision, according to a report from news website G1. These include Lula, as he still has appeals out against his conviction.
Lula was jailed in the southern city of Curitiba in April 2018 after being found guilty of corruption and money-laundering.
Lula’s conviction and imprisonment prevented the popular leftist Workers’ Party candidate from contesting the October 2018 presidential election.
His absence paved the way for the victory of far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro, who later appointed Lula case judge Sergio Moro as his justice minister.
Lula’s case was linked to Brazil’s international Car Wash scandal that implicated state oil company Petrobras and dozens of entrepreneurs and politicians in Latin America.
Lula and his supporters have accused Moro and Car Wash prosecutors of backchannel coordination to jail him. Those allegations gained momentum following reports from The Intercept Brazil news website revealing hacked text messages between Moro and prosecutors.