BRASILIA (Reuters) – A federal judge in Brazil on Wednesday authorized the transfer of imprisoned former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva from the southern city of Curitiba to a jail in the state of Sao Paulo.
Lula, as the former leftist leader is known, was convicted in 2017 of taking a bribe from an engineering firm in return for help landing contracts with state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA.
After losing an appeal, he was arrested in April of last year, following a dramatic standoff between police and his supporters in Greater Sao Paulo. He was taken to Curitiba, where the corruption probe was based, to serve a 12-year sentence.
The former president is being held in a jail within a federal police station. However, police complained in a motion seen by Reuters that overseeing Lula’s imprisonment was diverting significant time and resources, as well as inconveniencing city residents.
A separate judge in Sao Paulo state determined later on Wednesday that Lula would serve the remainder of his sentence at a prison in the town of Tremembe, near the city of Sao Jose dos Campos.
Lula served as president from 2003 to 2011, when he oversaw robust economic growth and falling inequality during a commodities boom. The corruption conviction damaged his reputation, and he was prohibited from running in Brazil’s 2018 election, even as he retains a sizeable base of supporters.
(Reporting By Ricardo Brito; Writing and additional reporting by Gram Slattery; Editing by David Gregorio and Bill Berkrot)