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Court Ruling Nullifies Lula's Freedom in Brazil

Supporters of the leftist Worker Party (PT) and Brazil's former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva gather outside the Federal Police headquarters where Lula is serving a prison sentence, in Curitiba | Photo: Reuters Supporters of the leftist Worker Party (PT) and Brazil's former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva gather outside the Federal Police headquarters where Lula is serving a prison sentence, in Curitiba | Photo: Reuters
The president of the Supreme Federal Court of Brazil (STF), Dias Toffoli, annulled this Wednesday afternoon the precautionary measure that determined the release of all detainees convicted in the second instance with pending judicial remedies, a decision that benefited the former president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who has been detained since early April in Curitiba.

Toffoli ruled that the full court would have to take up the case after it returns from holiday recess. Earlier on Wednesday, Justice Marco Aurelio Mello approved an appeal that would have freed Lula, jailed since April.

According to the Brazilian Report, Lula's attorneys had previously placed a request to release him from jail. The request for his release was filed by lawyer Cristiano Zanin in the Justice Forum of Curitiba where Lula is being held. “It is necessary to immediately fulfill the decision of the Supreme Court,” Lula’s lawyers argued.

Mello's ruling  had effectively ordered the release of prisoners whose sentences have not yet been ratified by higher courts. His decision is based on an article in the country's constitution, according to which prison can only be ordered after the appeals process has concluded. In Lula's case, there are two possible appeals before higher courts that remain pending.

The ruling, however, clarifies that release is not automatic and that each case must be analyzed by the presiding judge.

  • Countries: Latin America
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