Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva has been convicted of corruption charges and sentenced to nine and a half years in prison.
The judge found him guilty of accepting a beach-front apartment from engineering firm, OAS, for his help in winning contracts with the state oil company.
The judge ruled he could remain free pending an appeal.
Lula served eight years as president until 2011 and has expressed interest in running again in next year’s elections for the left-wing workers’ party.
He still faces four more trials, in a process defence lawyers say constitutes a judicial avalanche designed to prevent him returning to politics.
Born into barefoot poverty in Brazil’s arid north-east, Lula ran the powerful metal workers’ union before helping found the Workers’ party with fellow leftists, unionists and intellectuals in 1980. He fought and lost three elections before winning the first of two mandates in 2002. Under his rule, tens of millions of Brazilians escaped poverty during his rule.
No other Brazilian politician in recent decades has been able to capture popular imagination with such verve. Although his reputation has been tarnished in recent years, he currently leads polling for the 2018 election.
If his conviction is upheld by a higher court, however, he will be ineligible to stand.
Current president Michel Temer also faces corruption allegations and is resisting calls for him to step down.Please subscribe to our newsletter [mc4wp_form id="10101"]