Judge seeks arrest of former president of Argentina on charges of treason



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In September, a team of forensic experts issued a report concluding that Mr. Nisman had been murdered. The report contradicted the findings of another team of experts, convened during the tenure of Ms. Kirchner, who concluded that Mr. Nisman had probably committed suicide.

Mrs. Kirchner has long denied any wrongdoing, including any involvement in the death or collusion of Mr. Nisman with Iran. (Mr. Nisman's death is the subject of another investigation.)

Judge Bonadio urged the Senate to lift Ms. Kirchner's immunity from being arrested as an elected senator, so she could be jailed to face the charges: concealment aggravated and obstruction of justice and treason.

He argued that if she remained free, she could "hinder the judicial actions as well as the discovery of the truth."

Argentine senators enjoy immunity from detention, but protection does not protect them from prosecution.

A Senate committee has 60 days to consider whether to waive its immunity, and then the full Senate would have up to 180 days to vote. The request must be approved by two thirds of the senators present.

The approval could be an uphill battle because the ruling party of Mr. Macri – where the critics of Mrs. Kirchner are concentrated – lacks a majority.

The Senate leader, Federico Pinedo, who is from Mr. Macri's party, wrote on Twitter that when the request to strip Mrs. Kirchner of her immunity from the Senate, "the We will badyze with seriousness and responsibility ". He added: "It is not about carrying out a party policy, but about ensuring that the institutions work properly"

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But the allies of Mrs. Kirchner accused the government of Mr. Macri, for a long time his political enemy, of working with the judges to destroy his legacy.

"It is clear that we are in a scenario of political persecution of the opposition leadership," Agustín Rossi, who was defense minister under Mrs. Kirchner and now a legislator, told a local radio station.

Mrs. Kirchner was president in 2013, when Argentina and Iran signed a memorandum of understanding that required a commission to jointly investigate the bombing. The agreement never entered into force, and was declared unconstitutional in 2015.

On Thursday, Judge Bonadio said there was sufficient evidence to accuse Mrs. Kirchner and her former allies for treason, because they had sought "impunity for citizens Iranians. " accused of the attack on AMIA headquarters and normalizing relations between the two states, "referring to the community center, the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association.

The judge also approved similar charges against several badociates of Mrs. Kirchner: Héctor Timerman , the former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carlos Zannini, who was essentially the chief of staff of Mrs. Kirchner, and a community activist, Luis D & # 39; Elía, among others.

Some Argentine Jews, who overwhelmingly believe that Mr. Nisman was murdered, they expressed support for Judge Bonadio's decision.

"The arrests show that Nisman's complaint had solid elements," said Ariel Cohen Sabban, the head of the Delegation of Israelite Associations of Argentina. group that is close to AMIA and was critical to get the case reopened. "It is a vindication of Nisman's work."

Mrs. Kirchner will not be the first member of her administration n in face of efforts to eliminate its immunity. Julio De Vido, a former planning minister, was stripped of the immunity he enjoys as a member of the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of parliament, and turned himself in to authorities on corruption charges in October.

Iran has long denied any involvement in the AMIA bombing. Mr. Nisman, before his death, had filed a criminal complaint accusing Ms. Kirchner and members of his government of trying to protect Iranian officials, which includes an embargo of 50 million pesos ($ 2.9 million) in badets of the former president, to play a role in the attack as part of an agreement that would supply Iranian oil to Argentina. Judge Bonadio's accusation on Thursday is based on that complaint.

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