As he walked out of jail, Lula
raised a defiant fist of victory in the air to the
cheers of a crowd of supporters and members of his
Workers Party who waved red flags and held "Free
He called for a rally on Saturday in Sao Paulo
before he planned to embark on a national tour, he
Lula was jailed in 2018 for eight years and 10
months after he was found guilty of taking bribes
from engineering firms in return for government
In his first speech to supporters waiting for him
to walk free, Lula pledged to fight to establish his
innocence and excoriated what he called the "rotten
side of the judicial system" for "working to
criminalise the left".
Thursday's controversial Supreme Court
decision could benefit dozens of other high-profile
prisoners and thousands of other convicts.
Analysts say the prospect of serving immediate
prison time after losing a first appeal encouraged
suspects to negotiate plea deals with prosecutors,
providing them information that helped unravel the
corruption scheme in Brazil's history.
The law had contributed to the success of
Brazil's biggest corruption investigation, the
so-called "Car Wash" operation that put dozens of
company executives and politicians in jail for
bribes and kickbacks.
The Car Wash prosecutors said the ruling would
make their job harder and favour impunity because of
Brazil's "excessive" appeal processes. They said in
a statement that the court's decision was out of
sync with a country that wants an end to corruption.
Brazil's Justice Minister Sergio Moro said on
Friday that the Supreme Court ruling should be
Moro, who was the Car Wash trial's judge who
sentenced Lula before being appointed justice
minister by President Jair
Bolsonaro's government, warned before the
court's decision that overturning the rule would be
a big setback for the fight against corruption.
Investors were jolted by the prospect of Lula
returning to the political stage and uniting
opposition to the market-friendly government,
although he is barred from running in upcoming
Brazil's currency and benchmark Bovespa stock
index both fell 1.8 percent on Friday, weighed down
first by Thursday's Supreme Court ruling and
deepening losses after the formal court order
letting him go.
Lula, Brazil's first working-class president,
served as the country's leader between 2003 and
2010. He left office with sky-high popularity
ratings thanks to social policies that raised
millions from poverty. He was favoured to win the
2018 presidential election, but his imprisonment
barred him from running.
His critics accuse him of ruining the country by
allowing corruption to flourish.
His release will likely heighten tensions in a
polarised country that elected
far-right President Bolsonaro last
Lula is free to engage in politics, but will not
be eligible under Brazil's Clean Record law to seek
elected office for eight years after his first
conviction, which was in June 2017.
"Lula is not electable, but that is not needed
for him to take centre stage," said political
analyst Alberto Almeida.
"He can draw more politicians from the centre and
end up as a dealmaker for his party's candidate in
the 2022 presidential elections."
This article was originally published by "Al
Jazeera, ICH and Agencies" -
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