A Brazilian appeals court has upheld former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s conviction for corruption, and also extended the sentence by close to three years.
A report says ”three-judge panel sitting in the southern city of Porto Alegre unanimously ruled that his original 9.5-year jail sentence is extended to more than 12 years” adding that ”the verdict dealt a body blow to Lula’s hopes of running for re-election in August this year”.
One of the judges, Joao Gebran Neto, disclosed during his 2003-2010 presidency, Lula was one of the architects of a ‘’sophisticated scheme of fraud and corruption” that had weakened Brazil’s entire political system.
Luiz Inacio Lula said before the judge he would continue to fight “for the dignity of the Brazilian people” he also maintained he had committed no crime.
Defiant Lula, at 72 is expected to remain out of prison for many months and to continue to challenge the conviction through Superior Court of Justice and ultimately in Brazil’s Supreme Court.