March 1, 2019 / 6:19 PM / 8 months ago

Brazil's Lula to leave jail temporarily for grandson's funeral

FILE PHOTO: Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva arrives at the Federal Police headquarters, in Curitiba, Brazil, April 7, 2018. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes/File photo

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is expected to leave jail temporarily to attend the funeral of his 7-year-old grandson, who died early on Friday, according to a statement from the Paraná state government.

Lula is imprisoned in a federal facility in Paraná’s capital Curitiba, serving a 12-year sentence for a graft conviction. His lawyers asked courts to grant him a temporary leave so he could go to the funeral, and a judge did so. It was not immediately clear when he would leave jail.

A statement from the Paraná state government said arrangements are being made by the Federal Police to fly Lula to Sao Paulo, where most of his relatives live. It was not immediately known when Lula would leave the jail, nor when his grandson’s funeral would take place.

The grandson, Arthur, died from meningitis. The boy was the son of Sandro Luis Lula da Silva, one of Lula’s four sons with his late wife Marisa Letícia. Lula also has a daughter from a previous relationship.

It is the second loss of a family member for the former president this year.

In January, Lula’s brother Genival Inácio da Silva, known as “Vavá,” died. At that time, lawyers also sought Lula’s temporary release to attend the funeral. Lower courts rejected the request but the Supreme Court allowed it.

However, the former president chose to remain in prison rather than comply with conditions set for the release, including that his brother’s body be brought to a military installation with restricted access to the public.

Reporting by Lisandra Paraguassu in Brasilia; Additional reporting by Anthony Boadle in Brasilia; Writing by Marcelo Teixeira; Editing by David Gregorio and Dan Grebler

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