Brazil’s supreme court has ordered the country’s former president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, to begin a 12-year prison term for bribery. Lula, who served as president from 2003 to 2011, is still Brazil’s most popular politician despite his conviction and six separate pending corruption trials, and was considered the front-runner for October’s presidential election. The former president had requested to avoid jail while he contested his outstanding corruption charges, but on Thursday a pivotal vote was cast by Justice Rosa Weber rejecting his appeal, meaning Lula could be jailed within a week. He led all opinion polls for the upcoming presidential election but his conviction is likely to prevent him from running. In Brazil, a candidate is forbidden from running for elected office for eight years after being found guilty of a crime. Lula claimed the charges were politically motivated and designed to stop him becoming president again. “I did not accept the military dictatorship and I will not accept this dictatorship of the prosecutors,” he told supporters Monday.
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