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Brazil’s Lula to ask to leave prison for grandson’s funeral

March 1, 2019 GMT
FILE - In this July 5, 2017 file photo, Brazil's Former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva attends the inauguration ceremony for the new leadership of the Workers' Party, in Brasilia, Brazil. Chairwoman Gleisi Hoffmann said that the party will ask a judge to release da Silva from prison to attend the funeral of his 7-year-old grandson, who died of meningitis on Friday, March 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres, File)
FILE - In this July 5, 2017 file photo, Brazil's Former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva attends the inauguration ceremony for the new leadership of the Workers' Party, in Brasilia, Brazil. Chairwoman Gleisi Hoffmann said that the party will ask a judge to release da Silva from prison to attend the funeral of his 7-year-old grandson, who died of meningitis on Friday, March 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres, File)

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — The party of former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will ask a judge to release him from prison to attend the funeral of his 7-year-old grandson.

Workers’ Party Chairwoman Gleisi Hoffmann said da Silva’s grandson Arthur Araujo Lula da Silva died of meningitis on Friday at hospital Rede D’Or Sao Luiz in Santo Andre, on the outskirts of Sao Paulo. Arthur is the child of Sandro Luis Lula da Silva, one of the sons of the former president.

“We will do everything we can for you to see him,” Hoffmann wrote on Twitter.

Da Silva’s spokesman Jose Chrispiniano told The Associated Press he does not know where and when Arthur’s funeral will take place.

It is uncertain whether da Silva’s request will be accepted, although most inmates are granted permission in accordance with Brazilian legislation.

But on Jan. 29 the left-leaning leader was not allowed to attend the funeral of his elder brother Genival Inacio da Silva in Sao Bernardo do Campo, also on the outskirts of Sao Paulo.

In that instance, Judge Carolina Lebbos decided to ask Brazil’s federal police and the federal prosecutor’s office in Curitiba whether Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva should be allowed to travel.

Brazil’s federal police argued there were security concerns if the former president left the city of Curitiba to attend ceremonies 400 kilometers (249 miles) away in Sao Paulo. Lebbos agreed.

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The boss of the federal police is former Judge Sergio Moro, who sentenced da Silva to prison for corruption and money laundering. Moro is currently Brazil’s justice minister under the far-right administration of former army captain Jair Bolsonaro.

Hours after Lebbos’ decision, attorneys of the former president appealed to a higher judge who also sentenced da Silva to prison. Judge Leandro Paulsen ruled to uphold the ruling forbidding da Silva to travel.

Da Silva’s lawyers then appealed to Brazil’s Supreme Court. Chief Justice Jose Dias Toffoli issued another decision allowing the former president to meet with his relatives, but da Silva said he preferred not to go.

The 73-year old claims he is being politically persecuted. He has been jailed since April 7.