Brazil’s ex-president could be freed after top court ruling


A supporter holds a doll depicting jailed former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, outside Brazil’sSupreme Court in Brasilia, Brazil, Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019. The Supreme Court will resume debate over if it’s legal (as is done currently) to jail a person who fails to overturn their conviction in a higher court. The decision could affect cases like that of Da Silva. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)

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SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazil’s Supreme Court delivered a ruling that could release almost 5,000 inmates still appealing their convictions, including former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and other powerful figures jailed in a sprawling corruption investigation.

The court decided in a 6-5 vote late Thursday that a person can be imprisoned only after all appeals to higher courts have been exhausted.

The decision appears to cover Da Silva, whose attorneys said they will request his release Friday. That move will initially depend on a judge based in the southern city of Curitiba, where the former president is jailed.

The ruling also covers others convicted in cases arising from the so-called Car Wash investigation, which has ensnared dozens of top politicians and businessmen in Brazil. They will now be able to seek release.

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