Argentine judge seeks arrest of ex-president Fernandez

Sergio Conner
December 7, 2017

A judge in Argentina yesterday ordered the arrest of former president Cristina Kirchner on charges of 'treason against the fatherland'.

She has previously called the case an "absurdity" and part of a campaign to undermine her presidency.

The AIMA attack is the subject of a tangle of parallel cases as prosecutors are also looking into whether the country's leadership at the time had conspired to obstruct the investigation.

Judge Claudio Bonadio also indicted and ordered house arrest for Kirchner's foreign minister Hector Timerman, news agencies reported.

The bombing targeted a Buenos Aires Jewish center and killed 85 people.

Thursday's order is the first step in stripping Kirchner of her parliamentary immunity - it still requires a two-thirds in the Senate. A judge has requested her judicial immunity be lifted.

The former president, who now serves as a senator, is accused of signing a 2012 deal with Iran that would have allowed senior Iranian officials implicated in the attack to be investigated in their own country, rather than in Argentina.

Argentine judge seeks arrest of ex-president Fernandez

Ms. Fernandez and her late husband, Nestor Kirchner, dominated Argentinian politics for more than a decade starting 2003, with Mr. Kirchner serving as president from 2003 to 2007, and Ms. Fernandez succeeding him for the next eight years.

Kirchner's leftist alliance in the Senate has a total of 32 seats with around a dozen senators are in the Kirchner camp.

The judge is backing an assertion by former prosecutor Alberto Nisman that a 2013 agreement with Iran, which was portrayed as a joint attempt to solve the case, in reality ensured that the Iranians involved would never be prosecuted.

Kirchner is facing trial in several other cases involving alleged corruption and money-laundering during her term as president.

Her political clout has since faded with the victory of center-right President Mauricio Macri in elections later that year, but the populist firebrand now seeks a comeback as leading the opposition against Mr. Macri.

While removing immunity from congressional officials is rare in Argentina, Congress voted to do so back in October for Kirchner's's former planning minister Julio De Vido, who was arrested the same day for fraud and corruption.

Argentine investigators accuse five former Iranian officials - including former president Ali Akbar Rafsanjani, former foreign minister Ali Akbar Velayati and ex-Republican Guard head Mohsen Rezai - of ordering Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah to carry out that bombing.

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