Brazil's court denies 143 lawsuits to free ex-president Lula

RIO DE JANEIRO, July 11 (Xinhua) -- Brazil's Superior Court of Justice on Wednesday denied 143 lawsuits brought by private citizens seeking to free ex-President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva from jail.

In a statement, the court's President Laurita Vaz said the suits lacked the "appropriate legal basis" to proceed, although she acknowledged everyone had the right to file a habeas corpus motion.

"The judicial branch must not serve as (a) counter for complaints of a political or ideological nature," Vaz added.

All suits asked Lula to be allowed to appeal his 12-year-and-one-month sentence for corruption as a free man.

The two-time former president has been serving the sentence since April at a federal police holding facility in Curitiba, capital of southern Parana state.

His imprisonment appears to have derailed his plans to run for a third term in the October elections, though his appeal process continues.

Lula was convicted of accepting bribes from Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht in the form of a luxury beachfront apartment, and in return granting the company public works contracts.

He denies the charges, calling them politically motivated to prevent him from running again.

Controversy surrounds his legal case. On Sunday, federal judges issued contradictory rulings, with one calling for his immediate release in the morning and another ordering late in the day that he remain in jail.

[ Editor: zyq ]


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