The ACTU welcomes the news of Brazil’s former President Luiz Inacio ‘Lula’ da Silva’s release from prison on 8 November. His release comes a day after the Brazil Supreme Court overturned a law to end the mandatory imprisonment of convicted criminals after they lose their first appeal.

Lula, Brazil’s first working class leader, led the country from 2003 to 2010 and left office with high popularity ratings due to his social policies that raised millions from poverty. He was the favourite to win the 2018 election against right-winger Jair Bolsonaro, but his imprisonment prevented him from running and paved the way for Bolsonaro to come to power.

Workers in Brazil have been suffering under Bolsonaro’s rule, with attacks on unions and workers’ rights, and the rolling back of the social justice, economic, equality and environmental measures that Lula introduced.

Lula was serving a 12 year sentence for corruption charges which he denies and claims are politically motivated; in July it was revealed that the judge in the case, now serving as Bolsonaro’s Justice Minister, guided prosecutors in the investigation.

Brazilian unions have been campaigning for Lula’s freedom for years, and the ACTU have participated in solidarity activities in support of Lula.