SAO PAULO - A judge in Brazil on Wednesday ordered the transfer of jailed leftist icon Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to a prison in Sao Paulo, citing the inadequacy of the current facility.
The ex-president is serving eight years and 10 months for accepting a bribe as part of a massive kickback scheme involving state oil giant Petrobras.
Since April 2018, Lula has been incarcerated at the federal police headquarters in the southern city of Curitiba, where a group of supporters has been camped out to demand his release.
Police have requested Lula's transfer, claiming the presence of "antagonistic groups" outside the facility had stretched security resources, Federal Judge Carolina Lebbos said.
Another issue was the design of the federal police headquarters, which was not suitable for long-term prisoners. Lula is living in a room, not a cell.
Former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has been barred from Brazil’s October presidential election by the country’s electoral court despite easily leading in the polls, a ruling that adds uncertainty to the race to lead Latin America’s largest nation, leaving no clear favorites.
In a session that stretched into the early hours of Saturday, the justices voted 6-1 against the once hugely popular president, who is imprisoned on a corruption conviction he claims is a sham.
Da Silva’s left-leaning Workers’ Party issued a statement vowing to appeal, but there appeared to be scant
Lebbos said Lula would be transferred to Sao Paulo where he would be closer to family and have better conditions for "resocialization".
The court order did not say when Lula would be transferred or in which prison he would serve the rest of his sentence.
Lula's lawyers have demanded the former president be kept in conditions "compatible" with his current accommodation.
They also pushed for the supreme court to decide quickly on whether Justice Minister Sergio Moro, who was the convicting judge in 2017, had been biased, which could lead to a review of Lula's case.
Moro, the powerful judge behind the Car Wash probe before he was appointed to President Jair Bolsonaro's cabinet, has been accused of conspiring with prosecutors to keep Lula out of the 2018 election race that he was favored to win.
Scores of high profile politicians and business leaders have been caught up in the years-long investigation.
Lula was sentenced to almost 13 years in jail in February in a separate corruption case and still faces another half dozen corruption trials.
He has denied all the charges.