Former Brazilian president sentenced to 9-and-a-half years in prison for corruption
In this July 5, 2017 file photo, Brazil's Former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva attends the inauguration ceremony for the new leadership of the Workers' Party, with ousted President Dilma Rousseff, behind, in Brasilia, Brazil. A Brazilian federal judge has convicted the former president of corruption and money laundering on Wednesday, July 12, 2017. [File Photo: AP/Eraldo Peres]
Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has been sentenced to 9 and a half years in prison for corruption.
Lula was found guilty of accepting 1.1 million U.S. dollars' worth of bribes from engineering firm OAS SA.
Prosecutors said the company spent that money refurbishing a beach apartment for the former president in return for his help winning contracts with state oil company Petroleo Brasileiro.
The country's prosecutor-general also charged Lula on the grounds that the apartment was bought and remodeled for him by OAS SA in exchange for political favors.
Residents in Rio de Janeiro expressed mixed feelings at the ruling, with some supporting the outcome while others expressing doubts.
"I think (Judge) Sergio Moro was very clever in writing the sentencing. It doesn't matter how important you are. The law is above all of us. You have to follow the law. If he (Lula) did something wrong, and apparently he did, he has to pay for his crimes," says a Rio resident who is in favor of the ruling.
"I don't think there was a reason for the sentence. I don't think he should have been sentenced. It hasn't come too early or too late," says another resident who remains doubtful.
Lula, who served as Brazilian president from 2003 to 2011, will remain free on appeal.
If his guilty verdict is upheld by an appeals court, he will be barred from office.