Ex-president Fernández de Kirchner faces arrest warrant

Thursday, December 7, 2017

A federal judge in Argentina has charged former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (CFK) with treason for allegedly covering up Iran´s role in a 1994 bombing that killed 85 people in a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires.

Judge Claudio Bonadio issued an arrest warrant, the first step in stripping CFK of her parliamentary immunity. On November 29 she was sworn in as senator, after securing one of three seats representing Buenos Aires province in October's legislative elections.

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A top official from her 2007-15 administration, former planning minister turned lawmaker Julio De Vido, was stripped of his immunity in the lower house and jailed in late October under corruption charges.

Nevertheless, Peronist senators have made clear that the upper chamber is unlikely to strip CFK of her immunity without a guilty verdict.

CFK was originally accused of orchestrating a cover-up in the investigation of Iran over the 1994 bombing of the AMIA community center by Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who died under mysterious circumstances of a gunshot wound to the head in his apartment in January 2015.

As part of the case, Bonadio ordered ex-foreign minister Héctor Timerman under house arrest, along with former presidential secretary Carlos Zannini and two other suspects.

The charge of treason carries a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, and a maximum of 25 to life. CFK also faces charges in at least half-a-dozen more cases tied to corruption in her government.

CFK, who maintains she is innocent, referred to the treason charge back in October, after appearing in Bonadio's court. "The only treason here in the country is using the judicial branch to persecute the opposition," she said at the time.