Brazil ex-President released from prison

President Bolsonaro calls him a 'scoundrel'

Ex-Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has been set free after more than 18 months in prison.

Lula the former left-wing leader, was received by crowds of supporters as he walked out of the jail on Friday.

He was held in a prison in the city of Curitiba on corruption charges.

According to BBC, a  judge ordered his release after a Supreme Court ruling that defendants should only be imprisoned if they have exhausted their appeal options.

The 74-year-old ex-president, who led Brazil between 2003 and 2010, is seen as a leftist icon in the country. As he left the prison, he pumped his fist in the air as a victory sign.

“I didn’t think that today I could be here talking to men and women that during 580 days shouted good morning, good afternoon or goodnight, no matter if it was raining or 40 degrees [Celsius],” he told the crowds.

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He also promised to prove his innocence, before hitting out at the “rotten side of the judicial system”, which he accused of “working to criminalise the left”.

Lula was favourite to win last year’s presidential election but was imprisoned after being implicated in a major corruption scandal. The race was won instead by far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Twitter took the first swipe at political rival Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Saturday after the leftist former leader was released from prison, highlighting deep political divisions likely to flare up in the comings days.

Bolsonaro suggested Lula who was president from 2003 to 2010 was a “scoundrel” and called for his followers to rally around the government’s right-wing agenda, saying they should not allow “the new phase of Brazil’s recovery” to be derailed.

“Lovers of freedom and good, we are the majority. Without a north star and a directive, even the best troops become a band shooting at all sides, including friends,” Bolsonaro wrote.

“Do not give ammunition to the scoundrel, who is momentarily free but full of guilt,” he added, not referring to Lula by name.

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