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  • Supporters of Brazil's former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva display a banner in Rio de Janeiro.

    Supporters of Brazil's former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva display a banner in Rio de Janeiro. | Photo: Reuters

Published 17 May 2018

Despite his incarceration, Lula continues to top polls leading up to Brazil's presidential elections, which are scheduled to take place in October. 

A judge in Brazil has granted a temporary injunction annulling a series of privileges automatically granted to former presidents against leftist ex-President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

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Sao Paolo Judge Haroldo Nader said Lula's security in prison in Curitiba was greater than when he was free, so he did not need more protection.

"It's also absolutely unnecessary to have two vehicles with drivers when your right to movement is restricted to the federal police building in Curitiba and controlled by prison staff," the judge noted.

On the same day, in French newspaper Le Monde, Lula called his conviction and 12-year sentence for corruption "a judicial farce" and said that presidential elections would be unfair without his participation.

The election "will not be democratic unless all political forces can take part in a free and fair way," wrote Lula, whose jailing in April almost certainly knocks him out of October's presidential elections, in which opinion polls show him to be the frontrunner.

The cabinet chief for current conservative President Michel Temer responded Thursday that Lula's court case had nothing to do with politics.

"The question of ex-president Lula is determined by the judiciary. In Brazil, we respect the separation of powers and we won't question a decision by the judiciary," the minister, Eliseu Padilha, told foreign journalists.

Lula has been detained at the Federal Police of Curitiba headquarters in Parana on corruption charges for more than a month since complying with the warrant for his arrest on April 7.

His presidential election victory in 2003 represented the first time the Workers' Party (PT) assumed control of Brazil's executive branch.

Re-elected in 2006, his two terms in office were marked by a slew of social programs, lifting millions of Brazilians out of poverty and removing the country from the United Nations World Hunger Map. Lula left office with a record approval rating of 83 percent in 2011, according to Datafolha.

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