Pope Francis has sent a message of support from the Vatican to Brazil's embattled former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
Following an hour-long meeting in Rome with former Minister of Defense and Foreign Affairs Celso Amorim on Thursday, the pontiff discussed the political and judicial situation in Brazil.
Joined by former Argentine Minister Alberto Fernandez and Chilean Minister Carlos Ominami, the delegation called attention to the plight of Lula, imprisoned on trumped-up corruption charges that many believe are a form of lawfare.
Amorim described for the pontiff in detail the circumstances surrounding Lula's imprisonment in Curitiba, where he has been held since April on charges critics believe are designed to prevent him returning to the presidency.
Amorim later handed Pope Francis an Italian-language copy of Lula's book, 'The Truth Will Win.'
In a handwritten note to Brazil's most popular politician and former leader, Pope Francis then wrote: "To Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva with my blessing, asking him to pray for me, Francisco."
Earlier, Lula was visited in prison by renowned Brazilian musicians Martinho da Vila and Chico Buarque, who criticized the judiciary for preventing Lula from addressing the media.
Despite being jailed, Lula has topped every 2018 electoral poll conducted by Vox Populi, Ibope, Datafolha, Data Poder 360, Instituto Parana, the National Confederation of Transportation/MDA and Ipsos.
Lula's 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. He left office with a record approval rating of 83 percent in 2011, according to Datafolha.