Brazilian Supreme Court rejects Lula appeal to avoid jail
April 5, 2018
Justices had been weighing whether former President Lula should be allowed to put off beginning a 12-year sentence while he appeals a corruption conviction. The ruling against Lula will likely end his political career.
The court ruled against Lula following apparent pressure from a top general earlier this week. In a tweet, General Eduardo Villas Boas appeared to back Lula's incarceration in remarks that triggered public criticism for its interventionist overtone.
"In Brazil's current situation, it's worth asking our institutions and the people who is really thinking about what is best for the country and future generations, and who is only worried about their personal interests?" Boas said.
Boas' remarks were criticized by human rights groups, with Amnesty International saying it represented a "threat to the democratic state of law." High-ranking military officials have largely remained outside the sphere of politics since the end of military dictatorship in 1985.
Lula was president from 2003 to 2010. Last year he was found guilty of trading favors with a construction firm to receive a beachfront apartment. The ruling was upheld in January and his sentence was lengthened.
Brazil goes to the polls in October and this decision could radically alter results and possibly affect stability in Brazil. The former president will likely be disqualified from running if his sentence is not overturned before the ballots are set in August.
On the right, however, Lula is the face of Brazil's biggest ever graft scandal, which has claimed several scalps of the country's political elite. President Michel Temer and former President Dilma Rousseff, Lula's protege, have also been implicated in the "Car Wash Operation," a Petrobas kickback scheme that continues to rock Brazil's political landscape.