Argentina judge orders arrest of ex-president Cristina Kirchner

NATION-NOW     Ex-president of Argentina faces arrest warrant for allegedly covering up a bombing     
       Ex-president of Argentina faces arrest warrant

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.

On Thursday, several former aides of Fernandez were arrested on the same treason charges that the prosecutor is pursuing against the ex-president.

Cover-up or "act of foreign policy"? .

Fernandez and members of her government "betrayed traditional and historical national interests and those of the people affected by the attacks" and looked to "gain impunity for Iranian citizens accused in the attack on the AMIA headquarters and to normalize relations between both states", Bonadio wrote in a 491-page complaint.

The bombing of the Argentine Israeli Mutual Association center on July 18, 1994, left 85 people dead, and to date no one has been arrested in connection with the case.

The agreement created a joint commission to investigate the AMIA bombing that critics said was really a means to absolve Iran.

Iran's government has repeatedly denied any role in the attack and refused to hand over suspects in the case.

Fernandez said on December 7 that the deal with Iran "was an act of foreign policy that can not be prosecuted".

Judge Claudio Bonadio asked Argentina's Senate to remove Fernandez's immunity from arrest, claiming she could try to interfere with the investigation, which was originally opened by prosecutor Alberto Nisman in January 2015, four days before he was found dead in his apartment.

The cover-up allegations against Fernandez gained worldwide attention in January 2015, when the prosecutor who initially leveled the charges, Alberto Nisman, was found shot dead in his Buenos Aires home.

"The case was absolutely paralysed because Iran does not extradite its compatriots".

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. "What we did was to act within the framework of global law".

Fernandez and the other defendants have several options to appeal, which could drag the case out for years.

Kirchner, who is now in the country's Senate, has immunity unless the Congress votes otherwise, which is not expected although she has been charged with "treason against the fatherland".



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