Former Brazilian President Lula has been sentenced to nearly 10 years in prison for corruption, a sentence he will challenge on appeal to preserve his chances of competing in the 2018 presidential election. Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, whose charisma Has helped raise Brazil’s international standing in both terms (from 2003 to 2010), was sentenced in first instance to nine years and six months in prison for corruption and money laundering. But he will remain at liberty pending the judgment on appeal. The conviction came from the office of Sergio Moro, the emblematic judge of Operation “Lavage-Express” which has already put under the locks dozens of politicians of all sides involved in the mega-scandal of corruption around the oil company Public Petrobras. But “as the imprisonment of a former President of the Republic represents a certain trauma, it is more prudent to await the judgment of the Court of Appeal,” said the magistrate in his decision. Lula’s lawyers quickly reacted. “We appeal and prove his innocence to all impartial courts, including the UN,” a member of the law firm that defends the former president told AFP. But if the conviction is upheld on appeal, he will go to jail and will not be able to stand in the 2018 presidential election for which he is leading the voting intentions. The current president Michel Temer is also targeted by serious accusations of corruption that could cause a second brutal change to the head of state in just over a year.