Deadline for Lula to turn himself into police expires

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The Federal Republic of Brazil's Federal Supreme Court rejected the habeas corpus appeal presented by the defense team of the country's former President and leader of the Workers Party, Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva.

06 de abril de 2018, 16:30Brasilia, Apr 6 (Prensa Latina) The president of Brazil " s Unified Workers Central (CUT), Vagner Freitas, stated today that he will remain with Lula and said that he will not be handed over to the Federal Police.

Anna Julia Menezes Rodrigues, a specialist in criminal law at Braga Nascimento e Zilio, said da Silva's defiance did not turn him into a fugitive.

Mr Lula was convicted previous year of taking a luxury apartment as a kickback from a big construction company.

Lula was expected to surrender by late afternoon after the Supreme Court ruled he should not stay free while appealing against his corruption conviction. "Previous evidence submitted to the UNHRC focused on the leaking of confidential material to the media, the unlawful issue of a bench warrant, illegal disclosure of telephone intercepts, use of indeterminate pre-trial detention against "Car Wash" suspects, obtaining plea bargains and numerous examples of the prosecutors and Judge Moro's pronounced bias against Lula".

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

When the deadline arrived, however, Lula was hunkered down with supporters at a metallurgical union in the Sao Paulo suburb of Sao Bernardo do Campo, Associated Press reports. Yet, with more than double the electorate claiming to support the former president over Bolsonaro, it is unclear whether or not the absence of Mr da Silva on the ballot will increase or decrease the fringe candidate's popularity and chances at winning the presidency.

Clashes could break out with supporters if authorities come to arrest him. "That is part of the coup that removed me from the presidency".

Hundreds of his supporters gathered outside to express their solidarity for Lula, who was president from 2003-2011 and left office with high approval ratings.

Former U.S. President barackobama once named da Silva the "most popular politician on Earth". He has always maintained his innocence while continuing to campaign across the country the past year. Despite a lead in opinion polls ahead of October's election, he remains a divisive figure.

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Justice Gilmar Mendes, traditionally a critic of da Silva, voted in favor of the former leader's petition to stay out of jail, challenging his colleagues to buck pressure from society.

"Lula is just one of us. He knows what it is like to have a tough life and loves the poor more than the rich", said Antonio Ferreira dos Santos, a 43-year-old bricklayer who was keeping vigil outside the union.

Lula himself had not addressed the crowd almost 24 hours after arriving at the building, although union leaders said in an statement posted on their website that he would speak to the crowd Friday afternoon.

Minutes before the deadline, his lawyers lost a bid to keep him out of jail while he appeals against his conviction.

Technically, beginning to serve his sentence would not keep da Silva off the ballot.

Rare exceptions have been made in the past, and the final decision would be made by the top electoral court if and when Mr Lula officially files to be a candidate. He'd spend over a month.

Brazilians were riveted by the drama on Friday amid uncertainty about when and how da Silva, once a lion of Latin America's left, would be taken into custody. 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. President Michel Temer and several members of his cabinet are now under investigation in relation to the scheme.

Da Silva was convicted in July of helping a construction company get sweetheart contracts in exchange for the promise of the apartment. He denies any wrongdoing in that case or in several other corruption cases that have yet to be tried.

In late January, an appeals court unanimously upheld the corruption and money laundering charges against him, and he was handed the prison sentence.