A Brazilian appeals court, upheld ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s conviction for corruption, effectively ending his hopes of re-election this year.
Two of the three judges in the appeals court in the southern city of Porto Alegre ruled that his original 9.5-year jail sentence is extended to more than 12 years.
While he can still take his appeal to a higher court, the decision could rule Lula out as a candidate for October’s presidential election.
A defiant Lula, 72, said before the judge he would continue to fight for the dignity of the Brazilian people and insisted he had committed no crime.
The ex-leader, who governed from 2003 to 2011, had been favourite to win. Speaking at a rally in Sao Paulo after the ruling, Lula said he would still contest the presidency.
Even though the 72-year-old was sentenced in July 2017 and that conviction has now been upheld, he could remain out of prison for many months if he takes his appeal all the way to the Supreme Court.>