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Permission for Brazil's Lula to attend brother's funeral comes too late

FILE PHOTO: Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva attends a protest in front of the metallurgic trade union in Sao Bernardo do Campo, Brazil April 7, 2018. REUTERS/Leonardo Benassatto/File Photo

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazil’s Supreme Court chief justice on Wednesday granted imprisoned former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva a temporary leave to visit the body of his recently deceased brother at a military base in Sao Paulo state.

The decision, however, came too late for the former president commonly known as Lula, to attend the funeral since his brother was about to be burled.

The former president chose to stay at the prison, a federal installation in the southern city of Curitiba, an elected Congressman and fellow member of Lula’s Workers Party said on Twitter.

Lula’s brother Genival Inácio da Silva died on Tuesday from cancer. Lula’s defence filed a court request hours later asking permission for him to take part in the funeral.

Lower courts rejected the request because of security worries since his presence at the funeral could attract a large crowd.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Dias Toffoli decided to allow Lula to see the body of his deceased brother and some family members, but ruled that the body should be transported to a military base, with restricted access to the public.

Lula is serving a 12-year sentence for a graft conviction.

Reporting by Ricardo Brito; Writing by Marcelo Teixeira; Editing by Christian Plumb, Chizu Nomiyama and Jeffrey Benkoe