Brazil's Lula creates standoff with defiance of prison order


Luiz Inacio "Lula" da Silva, Brazil's former president and frontrunner in the country's October elections, has ignored a deadline to turn himself into police and start a 12-year prison sentence for corruption.

The center of the resistance is here, said Turra and recalled that former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva "is not a common criminal, judged in a common way".

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, and police confiscated knives and sticks from the protesters.

After almost 11 hours of often heated debate, the justices of the Supreme Federal Tribunal voted 6-5 to deny da Silva's preventative habeas corpus request to stave off a 12-year jail sentence while he fights a conviction in a case that he argues was nothing more than a ploy to keep him off of October's presidential ballot.

In late January, an appeals court unanimously upheld the corruption and money laundering charges against him, and he was handed the prison sentence. But the court's decision not to grant his request to remain free while appealing the conviction has cast doubt on his bid to regain power.

The sources said Friday that "Lula" is considering either waiting for police at the union where he has gathered with supporters or presenting himself in Sao Paulo.

Congressman Jair Bolsonaro, a right-leaning legislator who is running second in the polls behind da Silva, summed up what many da Silva detractors were likely thinking.

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On Thursday, the Supreme Federal Court voted 6-5 against a motion of habeas corpus filed by Lula's lawyers, which means that the former president can be arrested and jailed despite the unfinished appeals process.

Last year, Moro convicted da Silva of buying and selling favors having a building company in trade for its promise of a beachfront apartment. He governed from 2003 to 2010, leaving off ice an worldwide star and with approval ratings in the high 80s. He has always maintained his innocence while continuing to campaign across the country the past year. In 1980, he was briefly arrested for leading a strike and jailed for a month. Even with his legal troubles he leads setting surveys to reunite to place of work - if by a chance he is permitted to perform.

Earlier Thursday, the head of the Workers' Party insisted that da Silva, 72, would be the party's candidate in October.

Technically, the Supreme Federal Tribunal's decision doesn't keep da Silva off the ballot. It was expected to deny da Silva's candidacy under Brazil's "clean slate" law.

Mr Lula is the latest of many high-profile people to be ensnared in possibly the largest corruption scandal in Latin American history. "Previous evidence submitted to the UNHRC focused on the leaking of confidential material to the media, the unlawful issue of a bench warrant, illegal disclosure of telephone intercepts, use of indeterminate pre-trial detention against "Car Wash" suspects, obtaining plea bargains and numerous examples of the prosecutors and Judge Moro's pronounced bias against Lula".

Lula da Silva strongly denied any wrongdoing.

Investigators uncovered a major scheme in which construction companies essentially formed a cartel that doled out inflated contracts from state oil company Petrobras, paying billions in kickbacks to politicians and businessmen.