Former President of Brazil Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, sentenced to over 12 years in prison for alleged corruption, requested the Workers' Party (PT) to release a letter affirming his pre-candidacy for the presidency, and challenging his accusers to present evidence against him.
"I have not committed any crime. I repeat: I have not committed any crime. For this reason, until they present at least one piece of material evidence that throws into question my innocence, I am a candidate for the presidency of the Republic," the letter reads.
The letter asks that his political adversaries present said evidence before August 15, when he will be registered formally as a candidate before the Electoral Justice.
"I am not asking for a favor, I am demanding respect. During my whole life, and I am 72, I believed and preached that sooner or later justice would always prevail for people who are victims of irresponsibility of false accusations," it continues.
"I am beginning to have dramatic and cruel doubts over continuing to believe that justice can be served and refusing to participate in a farce."
According to PT President Gleisi Hoffmann, who has read the letter, the PT hopes to avoid speculation that an alternative candidate could arise.
Lula emphasized that no evidence exists against him, and that the entire case is a massive lie initiated by a false report by the media outlet O Globo, which claimed he had engaged in money laundering and corruption.
"O Globo newspaper published a lie that attributed the ownership of an apartment in Guaruja to me. The Federal Police reproduced this lie and started an investigation," Lula writes.
"The Public Prosecutors, receiving this same lie, made an accusation and, finally, always on the basis of this lie which was never proven, Judge Moro condemned me.
"The 4th Regional Federal Court, following the same script that began with a lie, confirmed the conviction. All of this leads me to think that there is no reason to believe that there will be justice.
"These are people who would be capable of accusing their own mothers to obtain benefits."