Brazil's ex-president freed from prison

Cheers erupted outside of a Brazilian prison Friday when the country's former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva walked free, after a year and a half behind bars.


"You have no idea of the significance for me to be here with you. I, who my whole life talked with the Brazilian people, never thought that today I could be here talking with men and women who during the past 580 days were here (saying): 'good morning Lula', 'good afternoon Lula,' yelling 'good night Lula,' no matter if it were raining, if it was 40 degrees or 0 degrees. (104 or 32 Fahrenheit)"

Lula’s release was ordered after Brazil's Supreme Court, late on Thursday, issued a ruling to end mandatory jail time for convicted criminals after they lose their first appeal.

The politically charged ruling could free scores of other high-profile convicts who were involved in the so-called "Car Wash" investigation of public corruption.

The former leftist leader was jailed in April 2018 for a bribery conviction, carrying a sentence of almost nine years.

Lula was found guilty of taking bribes from engineering firms in return for public contracts.

He has maintained his innocence and says the case against him was politically motivated.

Lula announced he plans to hold a rally at a metal workers union in Sao Paulo on Saturday before he embarks on a national tour.

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