Deadline for Lula to turn himself into police expires

07 April, 2018, 01:23 | Author: Clarence Schmidt
  • Former Brazilian President Lula waves to supporters outside of ABC Steelworkers Union headquarters in Sao Bernardo do Campo

Lula however told the respected Folha newspaper - which reached the former president at the union building in Sao Bernardo - that he will refuse to compy with Moro's order. He leads opinion polls by a wide margin.

Mr. da Silva, " probably one of the absolute most transformational leaders of his creation at Latin America, put in Thursday evening at the metalworkers union headquarters at São Bernardo do Campo, a municipality only out of São Paulo, surrounded by supporters.

Lula, convicted previous year of taking a luxury apartment as a kickback from a big construction company, has not spoken publicly since Judge Sergio Moro issued his dramatic arrest warrant on Thursday.

Lula's lawyers filed a last-minute request to an appeals court to suspend the prison order, arguing they had not been given time to exhaust procedural appeals.

In a statement, Moro said he was giving da Silva the opportunity to come in of his own accord because he had been Brazil's president.

"We're here to fight the great injustice of convicting without any proof the best president we ever had", Joraci de Barros, a retired 74-year-old social worker, said in front of the union building.

Federal judge Sergio Moro has issued an arrest warrant for former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Lula is accused of accepting a luxury beachfront apartment from construction firm OAS in exchange for lucrative contracts with state oil giant Petrobras.

Still, it had been widely expected that with more technical appeals, Lula would start his sentence only sometime next week at the earliest.

"He (Lula) can show up here by private plane or if he shows up in Sao Paulo, he can travel aboard the Federal Police aircraft", which is "ready" to transfer him, said Jorge Chastalo Filho, head of the custody and escort team of the Federal Police of Curitiba to a group of reporters.

Lula, who grew up poor and with little formal education before becoming a trade union leader and politician, says he will go down fighting.

Such technicalities "were simply a pathology that should be eliminated from the judicial world", Moro said in his statement.

Judicial authorities are anxious that his supporters will successfully portray him as a political prisoner.

Hundreds of die-hard supporters in red shirts thronged outside the union offices late into the night on Thursday, cheering spirited defenses of Lula, who sought refuge inside.

Despite all his legal problems, Lula remains by far the highest polling of any candidate for the October 7 elections, with a hard-right former army captain, Jair Bolsonaro, in a distant second place.

The court's decision was met by protests both in favour of and against Lula, representing a deep divide within the country. Over the last four years, Brazilians have experienced near weekly police operations and arrests of the elite, from top politicians to businessmen like former Odebrecht CEO Marcelo Odebrecht.

While Moro, who oversees many cases in the so-Called "Operation Car Wash", is hailed as a hero by many, others see him as a partisan hit man out to get da Silva and the Workers' Party.



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