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Brazil's former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva begins serving a 12-year sentence in prison

Brazil's former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, 72 old,  has surrendered to police to begin serving a 12-year sentence for corruption.

The charges against Lula came from an anti-corruption investigation known as Operation Car Wash. He was convicted of receiving a renovated beachfront apartment worth some 3.7m reais ($1.1m, £790,000), as a bribe from engineering firm OAS. In an order issued on Thursday, federal judge Sergio Moro said Lula had to present himself before 17:00 local time (20:00 GMT) on Friday at the federal police headquarters in the southern city of Curitiba. He missed that deadline but finally walked out of the office in his hometown, near Sao Paolo, and was taken away by police cars even if his supporters blocked his car.

former-president-and-his-supporters
Former president and his supporters

As protestors blocked the exits preventing Lula from leaving, several vans of federal police arrived and there was talk of riot police arriving too.  Lula insisted he is innocent. Earlier on Saturday he delivered a 55-minute speech and said: "I will comply with the order and all of you will become Lula," he told the crowd in Sao Bernardo do Campo. "I'm not above the law. If I didn't believe in the law, I wouldn't have started a political party. I would have started a revolution." Lula served as president from 2003-2011, when Brazil experienced its longest period of economic growth in three decades. As a convict, Lula would normally be barred from standing for election in October.

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