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The former president's supporters have been working vigorously to reverse a conviction on corruption and money-laundering charges handed down last July, which appears all but certain to derail his bid to return to the presidency next year.

Moro said the cell, a separate room with its own toilet, had already been prepared, and that Lula would not be handcuffed - if he came quietly.

Federal Judge Sergio Moro, who has handled the bulk of cases in Brazil's biggest anti-corruption effort, ordered Lula to turn himself in by late Friday afternoon.

Hundreds of supporters filled the street outside the union headquarters, cheering defiant speeches calling the case a political witch hunt. It was that Mr. da Silva acquired prominence as being a union chief in the 1970s by railing from the military dictatorship, and at which he and fellow leftist leaders formed a political move that a long time later carried him to the head of strength.

His defense, for his part, has presented a new appeal to High Court of Justice (STJ) to stop imminent entry into prison of trade union leader, Efe confirmed sources of law firm.

Mariana Setra, a da Silva supporter in Sao Paulo, called the top court's decision "ridiculous".

Last year, Moro convicted da Silva of trading favors with a construction company in exchange for the promise of a beachfront apartment. Moro wants da Silva to begin serving his sentence of 12 years and one month.

Lula's lawyers were also looking for alternative routes of appeal, based on the right of habeas corpus.Lula was accused of receiving bribes by Brazilian construction group OAS Engenharia in the form of the renovation of a three-floor penthouse in Sao Paulo state.

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He won two terms as president, serving from October 2002 until January 2011.

"Lula will not be a prisoner in 2018, he'll be president and help the people once more", Swiecik, 31, said. "Everyone to Sao Bernardo tomorrow from 5:00 am in front of Lula's house!" he tweeted. That's about 260 miles (417 kilometers) southwest of Curitiba.

With a looming deadline to turn himself into authorities, former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Friday hunkered down with supporters at a metallurgical union that was the spiritual birthplace of his rise to power. "They fear that Lula would get a favorable decision in (a higher appeals) court".

The former leader has by 5 p.m. local time to present himself in Curitiba.

In theory, once someone has been convicted and lost a lower court appeal, he or she is barred from running for office under Brazil's clean-slate law.

The Federal Police of Brazil has ready a plane to take former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva from Sao Paulo to Curitiba, where he should go to prison today according to the order issued by Judge Sergio Moro.

“Lula leaves no political heir and much of his electoral capital can not be transferred, ” said Leonardo Barreto, with the Brasilia-based political risk consultancy Factual.

Da Silva's upcoming arrest will mark a colossal fall from grace for the man who led Latin America's most populous nation between 2003 and 2010, and left office with approval ratings over 80 percent.


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