Former President of Argentina Cristina Fernández Charged with Treason
On Thursday, an Argentine federal judge indicted former president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner for treason. The judge asked for her arrest after allegations arose of the former president covering up Iran’s role in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center that killed 85 people. She also faces charges in several other corruption investigations.
Kirchner, who was in office from 2007 to 2015 is set to begin her term as a senator this Sunday and therefore has parliamentary immunity. In order for her to be arrested, the Senate would have to lift her immunity with a two-thirds majority vote.
The judge in this case, Claudio Bonadio, requested an embargo of 50 million pesos ($2.9 million) on Kirchner’s assets and these recent accusations further the mystery of Alberto Nisman’s death in 2015, a prosecutor who was investigating the 1994 bombing case.
Only hours before he was scheduled to provide testimony, in which he was to accuse Mrs. Kirchner of collaborating with Iran in covering up the attack, his body was found in what appeared to be a suicide. However, his death was still treated with a high level of uncertainty, met with “outrage and skepticism” by the entire country.
Just one day before his death, he had shared the chilling phrase: “Yo puedo salir muerto de ésto”, “I might get out of this dead.” Elisa Carrió, an outspoken congresswoman at the time, claimed: “everything is far more sordid than it appears” and that “they [the government] killed him or they induced his death.”
Though the former president has long denied any involvement in Mr. Nisman’s death or any collusion with Iran, Nisman reportedly wiretapped officials and uncovered information relating to a “Memorandum of Understanding.” The memorandum was signed abroad in Ethiopia with Iran in 2013. It outlined a plan to “collaborate with Iran on its goal to accelerate and support nuclear development” in exchange for an oil and grain trade deal. The covert deal also stipulated that Argentina under the Kirchner administration would rule that Iran was innocent in the 1994 attack, despite sufficient evidence that indicated otherwise.
Amidst these accusations, Cristina Fernández has continuously pointed to current president Mauricio Macri, accusing him of stirring up drama, diverting “attention from the fact that his economic measures have failed,” and calling him “the director of the orchestra.” However, her alleged close proximity with corruption for the past few years leads many to believe her to be guilty and this charge of treason against her carries a potential prison sentence of up to 15 years.