Published: Fri, December 08, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Argentine judge orders arrest of ex-president for treason

Argentine judge orders arrest of ex-president for treason

An Argentine federal judge has ordered that the former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner be jailed pending prosecution in connection with charges that she helped to hide Iran's alleged involvement in a 1994 terrorist attack in Buenos Aires in which 85 people died.

Bonadio accused Kirchner, who led the country from 2007-2015, of devising a "criminally orchestrated plan" to protect Iranian officials accused of playing a role in the bombing of the Jewish center.

The case is based on charges first leveled two years ago by prosecutor Alberto Nisman.

A federal judge asked for her arrest for trying to cover up Iran's possible role in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center.

Fernandez, Timerman and Zannini "took advantage of their public posts.to commit treason against Argentina", Bonadio noted in his decision.

The 64-year-old former president held a press conference in Buenos Aires to hit back at the charges, saying the order seeking her arrest was "an excess that violates the rule of law".

In 2011, Argentina was roiled by the revelation, immediately denied, that Kirchner had signed a secret memorandum with the Iranian government that would have resulted in the lifting of the red notices, that Interpol maintained on behalf of the Argentine government. Fernandez and the other defendants have several options to appeal, which could drag the case out for years.

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Bonadio wrote in his ruling that evidence in the case showed Iran, with the help of Argentine citizens, had appeared to achieve its goal of avoiding being declared a "terrorist" state by Argentina.

The question now becomes whether the Congress will revoke her parliamentary immunity.

Bonadio also charged intelligence chief Oscar Parrilli, former Treasury Prosecutor Angelina Abbona and several other former officials, but said they could remain free.

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. But no one has been brought to trial in the case.

The charges were originally pressed in January 2015, four days before Nisman was found dead with a gunshot wound to the head in his Buenos Aires apartment. In October, congress voted to lift protection from her former planning minister, Julio De Vido, who was facing charges of fraud and corruption.

Argentina and Israel accuse Iran and Lebanon's "Hezbollah" of involvement in the AMIA bombing.

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