SAO PAULO – Former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who has been implicated in the corruption scandal surrounding the state oil company Petrobras, reiterated on Thursday his innocence and accused the press, the prosecutors, the judge and the Federal Police of having made an “almost diabolical pact” against him.
The campaign “For a just Brazil for all and for Lula,” whose motto is “Defending Lula’s rights is to defend the rights of all Brazilians,” was launched on Thursday night in the center of Sao Paulo, with the attendance of the former president, his fellow party members and social leaders.
Lula also received the backing from a social movement led by intellectuals, artists and activists.
The support comes at a time when Lula has to give evidence in three different trials and is investigated on under other issues related to the scandals in Petrobras which also have tainted his Worker’s Party (PT).
According to the organizers, the campaign to support Lula will also be launched abroad in the fight against “threats and setbacks” after the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff on Aug. 31, the successor to the former president.
Since last year, the former union leader, who ruled Brazil between 2003 and 2011, has been facing serious allegations of corruption. In July, Lula’s defense raised its problems with the courts internationally and filed a lawsuit at the United Nations, claiming that he was the victim of “judicial and political persecution” in his country.
“Defending Lula’s right to a presumption of innocence ... and a fair trial is to defend freedom and rights of all Brazilians,” said the message presented on Thursday by intellectuals and artists.
In his speech on Thursday, Lula said that the group responsible for the investigations into “Lava Jato” (the name of the Petrobras case) “lies to the Brazilian society.”
Lula once again reiterated his innocence: “I did not commit any crime before, during or after serving as the President of the Republic.”