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  • Antonio Ferreira, a cousin of ex-Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva holds a picture of Lula with the former mayor of Caetes at his home in Caetes, Brazil.

    Antonio Ferreira, a cousin of ex-Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva holds a picture of Lula with the former mayor of Caetes at his home in Caetes, Brazil. | Photo: Reuters

Published 28 August 2018

Lula is leading polls by a long stretch ahead of the Oct. 7 vote despite not being able to campaign or take part in presidential debates.

Brazil's Supreme Court will weigh in September an appeal by jailed former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to be set free so he can join the presidential campaign already underway, a court spokesperson said on Monday.

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Lula was jailed in April to start serving a 12-year sentence on a corruption conviction, that the prosecutors have so far failed to bring concrete evidence for. He has appealed an earlier decision by a Supreme Court justice who rejected a habeas corpus writ his lawyers had filed seeking his release.

The full 11-member court will now rule on the appeal by electronic vote between Sept. 7 and 13, the spokesperson said.

Lula is leading polls by a long stretch ahead of the Oct. 7 vote despite not being able to campaign or take part in presidential debates.

Even if Lula is freed while awaiting appeals of his conviction, Brazilian electoral court could also ban him from running based on the rule barring candidates whose guilty verdicts have been upheld on a first appeal, as is Lula's case.

His Workers Party registered his candidacy even though Brazil's electoral court is expected to bar him from running before the Sept. 17 deadline for altering tickets.

A few weeks ago, the United Nations, through its Human Rights Committee, has determined that the Brazilian state has to allow presidential Lula to exercise his full political rights as a candidate in the October elections. These include Lula's right to participate in media events and debates, as well as convene with members of his Workers' Party.

Legal experts say that according to Brazil's constitution, Lula should not be prevented to participate in the elections until all of his legal appeals have been exhausted.

Lula has repeatedly denied receiving bribes from government contractors during his two terms in office and says the corruption case against him is a pretext to keep him from returning to power.

A Datafolha poll last week gave him 39 percent of voter support, almost twice that of his nearest rival, far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro.

Also, the news comes as Sao Paulo state prosecutors have accused Workers Party vice presidential candidate Fernando Haddad of administrative wrongdoing, according to court documents seen by Reuters on Tuesday.

In a statement, Haddad's press representatives said all graphic materials produced during his mayoral campaign were declared. "There was no reason to receive any undeclared money from UTC," the statement said.

The accusations against the former mayor have to be accepted by a judge before he faces any possible trial. His place on the PT ticket is unlikely to be imperiled by the accusations.

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