Sunday, 8 April 2018

Brazil’s Lula da Silva begins 12 years prison sentence

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Former president of Brazil, Lula da Silva, has surrendered to the police to begin his 12-year prison sentence for corruption.

He was flown by police to the southern city of Curitiba, where he was tried and convicted in 2017.

Protesters supporting Lula clashed with police outside the walls of the building, with officers using stun grenades, tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse them.

“I will comply with the order; I’m not above the law. If I didn’t believe in the law, I wouldn’t have started a political party. I would have started a revolution,” Lula had said while addressing his supporters on why he had to surrender.

Lula was convicted of taking bribes from an engineering firm in return for help in landing public contracts.

A Brazilian supreme court justice on Saturday rejected the latest plea by his legal team, which argued that Lula had not exhausted procedural appeals when a judge issued the order to turn himself in.

Lula’s personal charm and welfarist policies endeared him to the Brazilian masses and eventually won him two terms as president, from 2003 to 2011, when he oversaw the robust economic growth and falling inequality amid a commodities boom.

“Those who condemn me without proof know that I am innocent and I governed honestly,” Lula said in a video message to his supporters.

“Those who persecute me can do what they want to me, but they will never imprison our dreams.”

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