Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is greeted by supporters as he leaves the Federal Police Headquarters, where he was serving a sentence for corruption and money laundering, in Curitiba, Parana State, Brazil, on November 8, 2019.
Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is greeted by supporters as he leaves the Federal Police Headquarters, where he was serving a sentence for corruption and money laundering, in Curitiba, Parana State, Brazil, on November 8, 2019.
Photo by Carl DE SOUZA / AFP

Brasilia: Former Brazilian President Lula da Silva has been released from prison on Friday in Curitiba, southern Brazil.

Silva walked out of the jail after 19 months, where he was serving a 12-year corruption sentence, after a supreme court ruling that delighted his supporters and infuriated followers of the far-right president Jair Bolsonaro.

After emerging out of the prison, the two-time president was greeted by family, friends, supporters and party faithful who were waving red flags and "Free Lula" signs outside the jail in the southern city of Curitiba.

Lula offered his "eternal gratitude" to his supporters camped outside and vowed that he hasn't been defeated yet.

"I leave here without hate. At the age of 74 my heart only has room for love," Lula said after his release.

Lula was imprisoned in April 2018 after a sentence for corruption and money laundering handed down by the judge Sergio Moro was upheld by an appeal court. His early release was made possible by a Supreme Court decision on Thursday night that determined defendants can remain free until they have exhausted all appeals. That ruling reversed a previous decision that had helped put dozens of powerful politicians and business leaders behind bars.

Meanwhile, Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro asked his supporters Saturday "not to give ammunition to the scoundrel," the day after popular leftist leader Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva walked free from jail.

Breaking his silence on the release of his arch-nemesis, Bolsonaro told his Twitter followers: "Lovers of freedom and good, we are a majority. We cannot make mistakes." He added Lula was "momentarily free, but guilty."

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