Brazil's top court issued a ruling that could see ex-President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and about 5,000 other inmates freed from prison.

The ruling states that a person can be imprisoned only after all appeals to higher courts have been exhausted.

Lula, as he is popularly known, was president from 2003 to 2010.  His "pink wave" Leftist government invested heavily in healthcare, education, and employment for Brazil's working class and poor, and eventually eliminated extreme poverty in the South American nation making him an extremely popular figure on the Left and right.  

He had been favored to win the 2018 presidential election, but prosecutors charged him in the "Operation Car Wash" investigation into official corruption.  His conviction prohibited him from running, and the election instead went to the far-right wing populist Jair Bolsonaro.  Lula maintained his innocence all along and is still appealing the case.  His predicament is shared by dozens of other politicians and business leaders.

Lula's persecutor was Sergio Moro, a popular anti-corruption crusader whose imaged was tarnished earlier this year when The Intercept revealed that the judge colluded with prosecutors to knock out the political opponents of the far right.