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Brazil judge orders ex-president Lula jailed by Friday

Brazil judge orders ex-president Lula jailed by Friday

Authorities in several cities braced for demonstrations for and against the ex-president, who leads in presidential election polls.

Lula, 72, was president of Brazil from 2003 to 2011.

Da Silva has maintained his innocence, saying this case as well as several other corruption charges that have yet to be tried are attempts to keep him off the presidential ballot.

Da Silva strenuously denies any wrongdoing.

The 6-5 ruling means that Lula - who was Brazil's most popular leader on record and is the frontrunner ahead of the October 7 polls - could be arrested within days. The conviction was upheld by an appeals court in January.

A former metalworker and trade union activist, he was the first left-wing leader to make it to the presidency in Brazil in almost half a century.

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"Lula continues to be our candidate, because he is innocent, and because he is the leading candidate to become the next president of Brazil", said Workers Party leader, Senator Gleisi Hoffmann.

"It was applied to only one person", she said. There are two higher courts which he can still turn to, the Superior Court and the Supreme Court - the latter has only ruled for far on whether he should go to jail pending further appeals, rather than on the underlying case.

In 2014, after Lula left office, prosecutors started investigating allegations that executives at the state oil company Petrobras had accepted bribes in return for awarding contracts to construction firms.

Last year, Temer was twice charged with corruption but remained in office because in both cases Congress, which must vote on criminal cases involving a sitting president, made a decision to spare him prosecution.

"In Brazil's current situation, it's worth asking our institutions and the people who is really thinking about what is best for the country and future generations, and who is only anxious about their personal interests?" he wrote in one tweet.

After almost 11 hours of often heated debate, the Supreme Federal Tribunal voted 6-5 to deny Mr da Silva's request to stave off a 12-year prison sentence while he fights a conviction that he has always argued was nothing more than a ploy to keep him off of the October ballot. The Superior Electoral Court could decide to make such an exception if Lula registers as a presidential candidate before the August 15 deadline. The conviction was handed down by Judge Sergio Moro, who is presiding over cases involving the mammoth "Car Wash" investigation. It was expected to deny da Silva's candidacy under Brazil's "clean slate" law, which disqualifies people who have had criminal convictions upheld.

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