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Brazil's ex-president could be freed after top court ruling

Associated Press logoAssociated Press 8/11/2019 By MAURICIO SAVARESE, Associated Press
A supporter holds a doll depicting jailed former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, outside Brazil'sSupreme Court in Brasilia, Brazil, Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019. The Supreme Court will resume debate over if it’s legal (as is done currently) to jail a person who fails to overturn their conviction in a higher court. The decision could affect cases like that of Da Silva. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres) © Provided by The Associated Press A supporter holds a doll depicting jailed former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, outside Brazil'sSupreme Court in Brasilia, Brazil, Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019. The Supreme Court will resume debate over if it’s legal (as is done currently) to jail a person who fails to overturn their conviction in a higher court. The decision could affect cases like that of Da Silva. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)

SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazil's Supreme Court delivered a ruling that could release almost 5,000 inmates still appealing their convictions, including former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and other powerful figures jailed in a sprawling corruption investigation.

Supporters of jailed former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, celebrate a Supreme Court decision that may free Da Silva, outside Brazil's Supreme Court, in Brasilia, Brazil, Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019. Brazil's top court has reached a narrow decision that could release almost 5,000 inmates that are still appealing their convictions, including Da Silva. The country's Supreme Court decided by 6 votes to 5 on Thursday that a person can only be jailed after all appeals to high courts have been exhausted. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres) © Provided by The Associated Press Supporters of jailed former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, celebrate a Supreme Court decision that may free Da Silva, outside Brazil's Supreme Court, in Brasilia, Brazil, Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019. Brazil's top court has reached a narrow decision that could release almost 5,000 inmates that are still appealing their convictions, including Da Silva. The country's Supreme Court decided by 6 votes to 5 on Thursday that a person can only be jailed after all appeals to high courts have been exhausted. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)

The court decided in a 6-5 vote late Thursday that a person can be imprisoned only after all appeals to higher courts have been exhausted.

A supporter of jailed former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, stands outside Brazil's Supreme Court in Brasilia, Brazil, Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019. The Supreme Court is resuming debate over if it’s legal (as is done currently) to jail a person who fails to overturn their conviction in a higher court. The decision could affect cases like that of Da Silva. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres) © Provided by The Associated Press A supporter of jailed former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, stands outside Brazil's Supreme Court in Brasilia, Brazil, Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019. The Supreme Court is resuming debate over if it’s legal (as is done currently) to jail a person who fails to overturn their conviction in a higher court. The decision could affect cases like that of Da Silva. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)

The decision appears to cover Da Silva, whose attorneys said they will request his release Friday. That move will initially depend on a judge based in the southern city of Curitiba, where the former president is jailed.

Workers' Party members gather to show support for Brazil's jailed, former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, outside the Supreme Court in Brasilia, Brazil, Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019. Judges are debating whether a defendant is to begin serving his sentence after a conviction has been reached by the first appellate court, which could affect cases like that of Da Silva. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres) © Provided by The Associated Press Workers' Party members gather to show support for Brazil's jailed, former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, outside the Supreme Court in Brasilia, Brazil, Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019. Judges are debating whether a defendant is to begin serving his sentence after a conviction has been reached by the first appellate court, which could affect cases like that of Da Silva. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)

The ruling also covers others convicted in cases arising from the so-called Car Wash investigation, which has ensnared dozens of top politicians and businessmen in Brazil. They will now be able to seek release.

Supporters of Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro hold Brazilian national flags as they keep vigil outside the Supreme Court in Brasilia, Brazil, Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019. Brazil’s highest court reached a narrow decision that could release almost 5,000 inmates who are still appealing their convictions, including jailed former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. The country’s Supreme Court decided on a 6-5 vote Thursday night that a person can be imprisoned only after all appeals to higher courts have been exhausted. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)

Supporters of Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro hold Brazilian national flags as they keep vigil outside the Supreme Court in Brasilia, Brazil, Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019. Brazil’s highest court reached a narrow decision that could release almost 5,000 inmates who are still appealing their convictions, including jailed former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. The country’s Supreme Court decided on a 6-5 vote Thursday night that a person can be imprisoned only after all appeals to higher courts have been exhausted. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
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