Argentine judge orders arrest of ex-president Cristina Kirchner for treason
EITAN ABRAMOVICH (AFP)
An Argentine judge indicted and ordered the arrest of former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner on Tuesday for treason over allegations she covered up possible Iranian involvement in a 1994 bombing at a Buenos Aires Jewish center that left 85 people dead.
Judge Claudio Bonadio also indicted and ordered house arrest for Kirchner's foreign minister Hector Timerman, news agencies reported.
Both the former president and her foreign minister have previously denied wrongdoing.
Judge Claudio Bonadio also requested that Kirchner -- who served as president from 2007-15 and is now a senator -- be stripped of her immunity.
That will require a two-thirds majority vote in the Senate.
She has previously called the case, in which she is accused of treason, an "absurdity."
"As happens regularly in Argentina, the news was first leaked to the press and Cristina has not yet been notified," an aide to the former president told AFP.
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.
Senator Kirschner, the President of Argentina from 2007-2015, is accused of signing a deal that allowed Iranian officials suspected of ordering the synagogue attack to be interviewed by Argentine magistrates in Tehran rather than in Buenos Aires.
Carlos Zannini, a legal adviser, and Luis D‘Elia, the leader of a group of protesters allied with her government, were indited in the same ruling and arrested on Thursday.
The ex-head of the Federal Intelligence Agency, Oscar Parrilli, was ordered not to leave the country.
Kirchner, 64, who had two four-year terms in office, is due to take her seat in the Senate next week after her election victory in October crowned a political comeback and granted her immunity from imprisonment in several corruption cases.
An Argentine appeals court a year ago ordered the re-opening of the investigation into Kirchner's involvement after it was cut short when the original prosecutor on the case, Alberto Nisman, was found shot dead in the bathroom of his Buenos Aires apartment in January 2015.
Nisman’s body was discovered hours before he was to brief Congress on the bombing of the center.
Though the prosecutor's death was initially classified as a suicide, an official investigating the case has said the shooting appeared to be a homicide.
The late prosecutor accused Fernandez of working behind the scenes to clean up Iran's name in order to secure a grains-for-oil deal with Tehran.
Judge Bonadio wrote that evidence in the case showed that Iran appeared to succeed in avoiding being declared a “terrorist” state by Argentina thanks to the help of some Argentine string-pullers.
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Immanent justice soon or later.