Brazil's Lula to wait until November for top court ruling

Brasília (AFP) –


Brazil's Supreme Court said Thursday that it would decide in November on whether to overturn a law requiring convicted criminals to go to jail after losing their first appeal, in a case that could have implications for jailed ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

A favorable ruling could result in the release of scores of convicts, among them Lula, a former leftist leader who is serving eight years and 10 months for corruption.

If the court overturned the law as it is, convicted criminals seeking appeal would not be taken into custody until the end of the entire legal process. In theory, that would apply retroactively to him and others.

The eleven justices were expected to finish voting Thursday, but they announced that because only four justices had their decisions in, the ruling would come next month.

Many analysts expect it will be released during the first week of the month.

Lula is among scores of high-profile political and business leaders caught up in the sprawling corruption probe known as "Operation Car Wash."

The popular leftist leader has been incarcerated at the federal police headquarters in the southern city of Curitiba since April 2018.

Lula was sentenced to almost 13 years in jail in February in a separate corruption case and still faces another half dozen corruption trials.

He has denied all the charges, arguing they were politically motivated to prevent him from competing in the 2018 election, ultimately won by President Jair Bolsonaro.

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

That could change, however, if the Supreme Court were to decide in a separate case that Justice Minister Sergio Moro, who convicted Lula when he was a judge in 2017, had been biased.