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Brazil: Appeals court orders ex-president Lula's release

The leftist politician has been in prison since April serving a 12-year sentence in a corruption case.

Luiz Inacio 'Lula' da Silva

An appeals court in Brazil has ordered the release of Luiz Inacio "Lula" da Silva, a former president who has been in jail since April for corruption.

Judge Rogerio Favreto on Sunday ruled in favour of several deputies of Lula's Workers' Party who, on Friday, had submitted a habeas corpus application - a document more typically used to challenge the legality of a person's detention or imprisonment - on the former president's behalf.

"Lula free now!" read the popular leftist politician's Twitter account, praising "the end of the illegal imprisonment".

On the heels of the ruling, top anti-corruption Judge Sergio Moro - who originally sentenced Lula - said the judge did not have the power to secure the leftist's release, declaring the decision "monocratic".

Lula, who was convicted of accepting a seaside apartment as a bribe from Brazilian construction company OAS, has been battling to overturn his 12-year sentence in the hopes of making another presidential bid in elections in October.

Despite his jailing, Lula has consistently led presidential polls.

Whether Lula can run in the October election has yet to be decided by Brazil's electoral court next month.

Lula insists he is innocent and has branded the accusations of accepting the apartment as a conspiracy aimed at thwarting his electoral bid.

His everyman style and unvarnished speeches electrified masses and eventually won him two terms as president, from 2003 to 2011, when he oversaw robust economic growth and falling inequality amid a commodities boom.

He left office with a sky-high approval rate of 83 percent.

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