By Beyza Binnur Donmez and Vakkas Dogantekin
ANKARA (AA) - Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva thanked internationally acclaimed author Paulo Coelho for his support during the leader’s imprisonment.
"#FreeLula your place is not jail right now. Do not accept to participate in the sinister farce of [Operation] Car Wash attorneys," Coelho tweeted Friday as he joined millions of Brazilians who demand freedom for the jailed leader.
"Hold on a little longer - and leave as innocent," said the Brazilian author of The Alchemist, a book that tells readers to follow what their heart desires.
Lula responded to Coelho’s encouragement on Twitter. "I will not accept favor from those who have left the country hostage to lies. I do not fret or trade my dignity," he said. "The truth will win. And that's what takes their sleep away.”
He also wrote an emotional open letter Monday to the Brazilian people.
"Every single Car Wash Prosecutor should really apologize to the Brazilian people, to the millions of unemployed people, and my family, for the harm they have done to democracy, to justice, and the country," he said.
Prosecutors in the Car Wash case requested Lula be allowed to leave prison for house arrest because of his good behavior.
But Lula rejected the offer saying that he would not let prosecutors use his sentence as a bargaining chip and dismissed the idea of being moved unless his "innocence" is "declared."
In August, lawyers of Lula said new private messages between prosecutors proved he was a “victim of a conspiracy.”
They also said that they would take the ''politically-motivated'' case to the UN Committee of Human Rights in a bid to annul Lula’s prison sentence and launch an investigation into the role of public officials involved in leaked conversations.
The iconic leader of the Worker's Party has been serving a 12-year sentence since 2018 on corruption charges in which executives of the state-run Petrobas oil company are accused of accepting bribes to award construction contracts.
Lula, who ruled Brazil from 2003 – 2010, was set to confront current President Jair Bolsonaro in an election last year but was blocked by then-judge Sergio Moro who is now Super Minister of Justice in the Bolsonaro government.
Lula was leading the opinion polls in the run up to the election, according to local media reports.