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Lula da Silva accepts to be presidential candidate despite prison sentence

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva

Rio De Janeiro, Jan 26 (UITV/IANS) - The roller-coaster week of former Brazilian president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva continues, as he accepted on Thursday to become the presidential candidate for the Workers' Party (PT).

On Wednesday a court dismissed his appeal against a 12-year-jail sentence for corruption.

While Lula vowed to keep fighting to clear his name, this sentence also makes him unable to run for public office.

In a meeting at the PT offices in Sao Paulo, Lula accepted to represent the PT, despite these legal woes, reports Xinhua.

He vowed that "today is a very proud day for me. The press today cannot speak of corruption, because they know yesterday they condemned an innocent."

According to the former president, the fact that judges unanimously upheld his sentence (12 years and one month in prison plus a heavy fine) was done to prevent his defense from pointing out problems in the case against Lula.

"Every time the judiciary judges ... with respect for the Constitution, I will respect the decisions. But yesterday, I only understood they were part of a gang. (The judges) built a gang to agree about the sentence ... to avoid the PT having Lula as a candidate," he continued.

Lula also called on the Brazilian public not to respect the decision, warning that the PT would next "be treated as a criminal organization."