Brazil Supreme Court rejects request to free ex-leader Lula

Brasília (AFP) –


Brazil's Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a request to free leftist icon Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva from prison while they consider whether Justice Minister Sergio Moro, who was the convicting judge, was biased.

The court voted 3-2 to postpone debate on whether Moro had been impartial when he handed Lula his first conviction in 2017 and dismissed a petition to let Lula out of jail until then.

Moro, the powerful judge behind the so-called Car Wash corruption probe before he was appointed to President Jair Bolsonaro's cabinet in January, has been accused of conspiring with prosecutors to keep Lula out of the 2018 presidential race that he was favorite to win.

Moro has denied "any kind of ethical deviation" after The Intercept investigative website published leaked messages purportedly showing he improperly advised and guided investigators.