Former Brazil president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva left prison for the first time in seven months on Wednesday as he faced questioning over corruption and money laundering in relation to the wide-ranging "Car Wash" graft probe.
A massive security operation was put in place in the southern city of Curitiba, where the 73-year-old has been held since April, as press and around 100 devoted supporters flocked to the federal court where he and 12 others were interrogated by Judge Gabriela Hardt.
Lula was questioned over refurbishments to a farm believed to belong to him, paid for by major construction companies between 2010 and 2014 in exchange for big contracts with state oil giant Petrobras.
The afternoon hearing, which was closed to media, lasted around three hours. The leftist icon, already serving a 12-year sentence for accepting a seaside apartment as a bribe during his 2003-10 presidency, was then returned to his cell.
Lula's defense lawyers maintain he is innocent of all charges against him and have accused authorities of harassment.
Experts don't expect a decision before the end of the year.
A lawyer for one of his fellow accused said Lula looked well but thinner than before.
His supporters are convinced he's done nothing wrong and have held a vigil outside the federal police jail where he has been held since he was detained.
He was brought to and from the court in a convoy of black vehicles and without being seen.
"We knew they wouldn't give Lula the pleasure of seeing us but we still encourage him so that he can feel our presence," said Susi Montserrate, who was amongst a group of supporters stationed close to the prison.
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