Brazil’s top court rejected a convicted ex-president’s petition to avoid jail time while he seeks reelection

Former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva attends rally in support of his candidacy to the 2018 presidential race, in Porto Alegre

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Former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva attends rally in support of his candidacy to the 2018 presidential race, in Porto Alegre
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Thomson Reuters

  • Brazil’s supreme federal tribunal voted early Thursday to reject a petition for ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to stay out of jail while he appeals a corruption conviction.
  • The former leader had planned to run in the country’s October elections, with polls showing he would likely win.
  • He was convicted of corruption and sentenced to 10 years in prison in July. The punishment has since been increased to 12 years.

The top court in Brazil voted early Thursday to reject a petition for ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to stay out of jail while he appeals a corruption conviction.

The ruling landed on a 6-5 vote against da Silva. He was immediately remanded into custody, The New York Times reported.

The former leader had planned to run in the country’s October elections, with polls showing he would likely win, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Leftist protesters gathered in major cities throughout Brazil this week, asserting that the corruption cases against da Silva are part of a ploy by conservative parties to remove him from power, The Journal reported.

Da Silva, arguably the most celebrated Latin American politician of his generation, was convicted of corruption and sentenced to 10 years in prison in July. The punishment was increased to 12 years in January this year.

He led Brazil during its economic boom during his two terms as president from 2003 to 2011 before his Workers Party compatriot, Dilma Rousseff, took over. Rousseff was narrowly reelected in 2015 before being impeached during her second term.

Da Silva and Rousseff were both brought down in the same anti-corruption wave, and at the center of that wave was one company – the Brazilian quasi-state oil company Petrobras.

Investigators uncovered massive government corruption at the company, and carried out a sting called Operation Car Wash to bring those responsible to justice. Politicians and businessmen across the country have been swept up in the scandal.

Da Silva was convicted of accepting $1.2 million worth of bribes from engineering company OAS SA in exchange for Petrobras contracts.

Linette Lopez contributed to this report.