Brazilian former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva greets supporters in the Metallurgical Union, in Sao Bernardo do Campo, Sao Paulo state, Brazil, after Judge Sérgio Moro issued a warrant to send Lula to prison, on April 5, 2018. (Photo via AFP / Miguel SCHINCARIOL)

Facing an order to begin serving prison time, former Brazilian president Luiz  Inácio da Silva has filed a last-ditch habeas corpus appeal and vowed to not surrender to police in Curitiba.

Lula was given 24 hours yesterday to turn himself in and last night called the order arbitrary before proceeding this morning to tell Brazilian media that he would not be complying. The former president spent the night in Sindicato dos Metalúrgicos de São Bernardo do Campo, near to São Paulo, with supporters camped outside and meeting with party leaders and associates.

The Workers’ Party (PT) closed ranks behind Lula yesterday before the prison order was confirmed, and the order itself has only hardened their resolve.

It remains to be seen if da Silva will surrender to police in São Bernardo do Campo, assuming that the latest habeas corpus appeal is rejected. Lula’s lawyers today filed the request before the Superior Tribunal de Justiça (STJ), a court a step below the Supreme Court and above the appeals court which facilitated his arrest order yesterday. The lawyers have sought to have the prison order quashed on the basis of what they argue are irregularities, the “rush” to imprison their client.

Judge Sérgio Moro, who first convicted Lula in 2017 on corruption charges, filed the prison order yesterday following the Brazilian Supreme Court’s rejection of an habeas corpus appeal, removing the last major obstacle to the president from being taken into custody to serve a prison sentence for a  corruption conviction. Lula denies any wrongdoing and calls the charges politically motivated.

Moro has prohibited the police from using handcuffs and specified that Lula be held separately from other prisoners in the police station for his personal safety and in recognition of the “dignity of the position” held by the ex-president in the past.