Brazil court reduces ex-president Lula's prison sentence

The court reduced Lula's sentence from 12 years and one month to eight years and 10 months on Tuesday.

    Brazil court reduces ex-president Lula's prison sentence
    Lula left office with record popularity, but his reputation was damaged by corruption scandals and the impeachment of his successor, Dilma Rousseff. [Rodolfo Buhrer/Reuters]

    Brazil's second-highest court has reduced the sentence of imprisoned former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, opening the possibility he could be moved to house arrest later this year. 

    The Superior Court of Justice reduced Lula's sentence from 12 years and one month to eight years and 10 months on Tuesday.

    "The vote of the rapporteur is in favour to reduce the condemnation from 12 years and one month to eight years and 10 months plus a fine of 175 days [an amount of money equivalent to 175 of salaries, to be paid by the former president]," said Reynaldo Soares da Fonseca, judge and president of the Superior Court of Justice. 

    The vote was in response to a request by Lula's lawyers that it annul the ex-president's corruption conviction or reduce his sentence. 

    The politician began serving the sentence a year ago on a corruption and money-laundering conviction for accepting a luxury beachside apartment as a bribe from an engineering company in the "Carwash" corruption scandal.

    Lula, who denies any wrongdoing, could gain the right by September to finish his term with his days free from jail, although he would still have to spend his nights in the prison.

    That partial release would depend on an appeals court decision on his second conviction for corruption and money laundering.

    If the appeals court upholds that conviction and a second 12-year, 11-month sentence without considering Tuesday's decision, the 73-year-old Lula would find his hopes for a partial release dashed.

    Lula governed Brazil from 2003 to 2010, introducing social programmes that lifted millions of Brazilians from poverty at a time when Latin America's largest economy was enjoying expansion driven by a global commodities boom.

    He left the office with record popularity, but his reputation and that of his Workers Party were damaged by corruption scandals and the impeachment of his handpicked successor, Dilma Rousseff.

    SOURCE: News agencies