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Supporters of former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva gather in front of the headquarters of the Metalworkers' Union
Image: Getty Images/V. Moriyama

Brazil ex-president Lula negotiating surrender with police

April 6, 2018

Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has missed the deadline for turning himself in to authorities. Lula has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for corruption.


The lawyers of Brazil's disgraced former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva were negotiating the terms of his surrender with federal police on Friday after he missed the 5 p.m. (2000 UTC/GMT) deadline to hand himself in.

Lula was supposed to report to local authorities in the city of Curitiba, where a relatively luxurious cell was waiting to usher him in to a 12-year prison sentence for his corruption conviction.

It's now likely that Lula will turn himself in later on Saturday after first attending a Mass for his late wife. Police in Sao Paulo did not say if they would try to forcibly take the former president into custody.

Lula's lawyer Jose Roberto Batochio told newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo he would not resist arrest, "but he will not go to the slaughterhouse with his head bowed."

"This is not rebellion, it is a person's right to preserve his freedom and not to contribute to any act that could take it away." 

Read more: Opinion: What path will Brazil take?

The once hugely popular ex-president was convicted in July 2017 of money laundering and accepting bribes.

Brazil's second-highest court rejected Lula's request to stay out of jail until all appeals against his corruption conviction were exhausted.

The Superior Court of Justice rejected the request after the country's highest court, the Supreme Court, rejected a similar appeal on Thursday.

Lula's legal team once again filed a last-ditch submission to the Supreme Court late Friday to quash the prison order, arguing they had not exhausted procedural appeals.

Lula hunkers down with allies

As the deadline passed, Lula remained hunkered down with aides and supporters at the headquarters of a steelworkers' union he used to lead in Sao Paulo.

"I don't see why he should turn himself in just because Judge Moro had an anxiety crisis," Senator Lindbergh Farias, of Lula's Workers' Party, told journalists at the union. "I think they should have to go through the embarrassment of coming here and taking him in front of all these people."

Read more: Opinion: Lula, Brazil's tragic hero

Farias was referring to Judge Sergio Moro, an anti-corruption crusader who gave the order for Lula's arrest. The order came right after the Supreme Federal Tribunal voted 6-5 to deny Lula's request to stay out of prison during the rest of his appeal process.

Demonstrators both for and against Lula's arrest took to the streets across Brazil in the lead-up to the 5 p.m. deadline, trading insults. Police confiscated knives and sticks from the protesters.

aw,law,es/ng (AP, dpa, Reuters)

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