A Brazilian court ordered on Tuesday the provisional liberation of former minister Jose Dirceu, who was one of the most important figures in the government of former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the state-owned Agencia Brasil said.
Dirceu, a crucial leader in the Workers' Party (PT), was sentenced to 30 years and nine months in prison for corruption, money laundering and criminal association within the Petrobras corruption ring.
According to Agencia Brasil, the Second Chamber of the Federal Supreme Court (STF) decided, by three votes to one, to provisionally release Dirceu while his defense team appeals to higher courts.
Supreme Court Justice Dias Toffoli called for Dirceu to be freed, considering that his sentence could be reduced by higher courts, a motion which was supported by two other members of the Second Chamber.
Dirceu's defense team filed a motion with the STF, saying that he had not exhausted his appeals.
The former chief of staff of Lula and Dilma Rousseff had been imprisoned since May, accused of being one of the leaders of a corruption ring centered on Petrobras which embezzled billions of dollars over more than a decade.
Dirceu was president of the PT between 1995 and 2002 and was seen as a potential successor to Lula. His political career tumbled in 2005 when he resigned as part of the Mensalao scandal, which involved the government bribing opposition lawmakers to vote in favor of key legislation.