Ar­gen­tine bid to bust ex-prez

New York Post - - NEWS -

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.

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