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Brazil court authorizes arrest warrant for ex-President Lula

07 April 2018

"Regarding the convict and ex-President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, I grant him, in consideration of the dignity of the post he occupied, the opportunity to voluntarily turn himself in to federal police in Curitiba by 5 p.m. on April 6, when his prison sentence must be fulfilled", Moro said in a statement.

Even when Brazilian ex president Lula da Silva was described as facing Judge Sergio Moro's Friday jailing decision calmly, the big question now is what follows for the presidential candidate and the Workers Party chances ahead of the coming October presidential election.

Lula's left-wing Workers Party announced that the former president would address a rally in his home town of Sao Bernardo do Campo, a suburb of Sao Paulo, today.

However, in January, an appeals court unanimously increased the sentence to 12 years, the report said.

"People want to be close to President Lula after this injustice", he said.

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Lula's likely imminent incarceration throws into chaos his plan to stage a comeback in an October presidential election.

Lula's successor, Dilma Rousseff, was impeached and removed from office amid a scandal and economic crisis.

Lula petitioned to the Supreme Court on Thursday to be allowed to remain free while pursuing appeals in higher courts against his conviction for receiving a seaside apartment as a bribe from a construction company. That conviction was upheld by an appeals court in January.

He left office with sky-high approval of 83 percent and was called "the most popular politician on Earth" by former U.S. President Barack Obama.

Earlier Thursday, the head of Brazil's Workers' Party warned that jailing da Silva would turn Latin America's largest nation into a "banana republic". Extreme-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro, who is polling in second place, stands to lose with Lula gone, as his anti-left rhetoric would be without its main punching bag.

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In a sign of possible friction on the horizon, within minutes after Moro's arrest warrant, a fight broke out in front of the Lula Institute in Sao Paulo between hecklers and supporters of Da Silva. He was sentenced to serve 12 years and one month behind bars. Over the last four years, Brazilians have experienced near weekly police operations and arrests of elite, from top politicians to businessmen like former Odebrecht CEO Marcelo Odebrecht.

In return, Lula da Silva helped the builder acquire contracts from the oil company, prosecutors charged. Under Brazilian electoral law, a candidate is forbidden from running for office for eight years after being found guilty of a crime.

Workers' Party leaders promised demonstrations, including vigils that would be organised nationwide beginning on Friday.

Couto can not see the once-powerful Workers Party having a competitive candidate until it makes a public apology for getting caught up in the systemic corruption among Brazil's traditional political class.

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Brazil court authorizes arrest warrant for ex-President Lula