A court ruling that could have led to ex-President Lula da Silva’s release from prison was overturned on Wednesday December 20, meaning the former PT leader is obliged to remain in prison until Easter next year.
Sentenced to a 12-year prison sentence in April on charges of corruption, Lula has spent the remainder of this year in a Curitiba jail and subsequently missed the opportunity to run in this year’s general elections.
Chief Justice Dias Toffoli, the judge to overturn the ruling, insisted that it must be “honoured by the presidency,” maintaining that such a decision might upset public order.
Had the ruling been passed, it would have meant that almost 170,000 inmates convicted of non-violent crimes – whose sentences are currently being appealed – would have been able to be released.
The Supreme Court has now decided that it will wait until April 19 of next year to decide whether individuals who have appealed their sentences will remain in jail throughout the process or be released from prison following their second appeal.
For his part, Lula has already appealed his sentence several times, including during this year’s presidential electoral period with the help of the UN human rights committee and more recently, when judge Sergio Moro joined Jair Bolsonaro’s presidential cabinet.
Given the possible implications of Lula’s potential release in April, Bolsonaro – who is due to take office in January – shared his reaction with his Twitter followers.
“Congratulations to the president of the Federal Supreme Court (Toffoli) for overturning the injunction that could benefit tens of thousands of prisoners in Brazil and jeopardize the well-being of our society, which already suffers daily from the chaos of widespread violence!”