Argentina judge issues arrest warrant for former President Kirchner

Evarado Alatorre
Diciembre 8, 2017

A federal judge in Argentina indicted former President Cristina Fernandez for treason and asked for her arrest for allegedly covering up Iran's possible role in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center that killed 85 people, a court ruling said.

Kirchner, who was sworn in as a senator on November 29, along with former officials in her government, were accused by prosecutor Gerardo Pollicita of an "aggravated cover-up" of the bombing that is considered a crime against humanity.

Kirchner, who has long claimed her legal woes are politically motivated, accused centre-right President Mauricio Macri of "manipulating" the justice system to "persecute the opposition". Her press department declined to comment on the order today. The judge, Claudio Bonadio, also indicted and ordered house arrest for Fernandez's Foreign Minister Hector Timerman, the 491-page ruling said.

The ex-head of the Federal Intelligence Agency, Oscar Parrilli, was ordered not to leave the country.

Bonadio asserts that this was part of "an orchestrated criminal plan" to cover up the alleged involvement of Iranian officials in return for lucrative trade deals with the Islamic Republic.

The charges have been rejected several times by courts as lacking substance, but the case was reopened in February this year.

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Twenty-three years after the bombing, two former presidents have been indicted, a slew of Iranian officials are accused, a campaigning prosecutor is dead from a bullet in the head, but no one has ever been charged in the original attack. "What we did was to act within the framework of worldwide law".

Macri's coalition performed better than expected in October 22 mid-term elections, gaining seats in Congress. Fernandez, a leftist populist who governed from 2007 to 2015, finished second to a Macri ally in a Senate race in Buenos Aires province but won a seat under Argentina's list system. For that to happen, two-thirds of the legislators must decide to remove Kirchner's immunity for an arrest.

Kirchner's leftist alliance in the Senate has a total of 32 seats in the 72-seat Senate, but only around a dozen senators are in the Kirchner camp. Nisman accused then-President Kirchner of the cover-up and was found dead hours before he was set to present his case to Congress in 2015.

She has previously called the case an "absurdity", and pointed out that both she and her husband Nestor, the former president, were instrumental in pushing for an investigation into the attack.

She is also facing trial in several other cases involving corruption and money laundering stemming from her years as president.

According to Nisman, who was investigating the bombing, Kirchner's role included secret negotiations with Iranian officials to have arrest warrants issued by Interpol against them dismissed.

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