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Brazil Lula challenges political opponents to reveal evidence against him

FORMER Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has thrown down the gauntlet to political opponents, demanding they reveal evidence against him, failing which he will stand again for the presidency.

The Workers Party (PT) leader, who was sentenced to more than 12 years in prison for alleged corruption, said his adversaries were capable of accusing their own mothers if they felt it was in their own interests.

Lula asked his party to release a letter affirming his pre-candidacy for the presidency and challenging his accusers to present evidence against him by August 15.

“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,” his letter reads.

“I am not asking for a favour, I am demanding respect,” the veteran trade union leader and socialist activist declared.

“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 the irresponsibility of false accusations.

“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.”

Lula emphasised that no evidence exists against him and that the case is based on a false report by media outlet O Globo, which accused him of 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 wrote.

“The public prosecutors, receiving this same lie, made an accusation and, finally, still on the basis of this lie that was never proven, Judge Moro condemned me. The Fourth 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,” Lula concluded.

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