Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, known simply as Lula, was convicted on charges of corruption and money laundering and sentenced to nearly 10 years in jail.
The case is part of a massive investigation centred on state-owned oil company Petrobras, which has led to several convictions. Current President Michael Temer could also be involved, and is facing corruption charges. Da Silva’s hand-picked successor Dilma Rousseff (pictured above) was impeached in 2016 after she was accused of mishandling the country’s budget and misrepresenting the economy.
Da Silva’s lawyers called Wednesday’s ruling part of a “politically motivated investigation”. They said, “No credible evidence of guilt has been produced, and overwhelming proof of his innocence blatantly ignored”. They will appeal the decision, but if it is upheld by a higher court, he will not be able to stand for election next year. He now leads polling for the election.
Former United States President Barack Obama had once called Da Silva the “most popular politician on earth”, The Guardian reported.