Argentine bid to bust ex-prez
A federal judge on Thursday asked Argentina’s Senate to allow the arrest and trial of former President Cristina Fernandez on a charge of treason for allegedly covering up the role of Iranians in a 1994 bomb attack on a Jewish center.
Judge Claudio Bonadio asked lawmakers to remove Fernandez’s immunity from prosecution, which she gained when she was sworn in as a senator last week.
She was president from 2007 to 2015.
The judge also ordered the arrest of several aides and allies of Fernandez.
Prosecutor Eduardo Taiano said the charge of treason carries a potential prison sentence of 10 to 15 years, while aggravated coverup has a sixyear penalty.
A vote of two-thirds of the Senate would be required to remove Fer- nandez’s immunity from prosecution.
The judge is backing an assertion by former prosecutor Alberto Nisman — who was found shot dead in 2015 amid the probe — that a 2013 agreement with Iran, which was portrayed as a joint attempt to solve the case, in reality ensured that the Iranians involved would never be prosecuted.
Fernandez and the other defendants have repeatedly denied wrongdoing or involvement in any coverup involving Argentina’s worst terror attack, the 1994 bombing of the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association center in Buenos Aires, which killed 85 people and wounded hundreds.
Investigators have linked former Iranian officials to the attack, but Iran has denied any such connection and declined to turn over suspects.