Documents found in the garbage of Argentinian prosecutor Alberto Nisman’s apartment show that he had intended to ask a judge to arrest Argentina’s President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and Foreign Minister Hector Timerman, according to a report (Spanish link) yesterday in Clarin, a Spanish-language newspaper in Argentina.
Nisman died of a gunshot wound to the head two weeks ago, the night before he was scheduled to present his case before a before a closed-door session of an Argentine congressional committee against Kirchner and Timerman for covering up Iran’s role in the 1994 AMIA Jewish center bombing.
According to Clarin, the documents were found in the garbage by police investigating Nisman’s death. A document calling for Kirchner’s arrest was dated June 2014, which is significant because the government has been claiming that Nisman’s decision to call for Kirchner’s arrest was made when he was vacationing in Europe in early January at the behest of unnamed foreign powers who were manipulating the prosecutor.
In an e-mail, Argentine journalist Eamonn MacDonagh explained the significance of Nisman’s intent.
Kirchner and Timerman both have immunity from arrest. There is no legal barrier to them being investigated and even tried but they can’t be arrested without being stripped of their immunity, which would take a two-thirds vote in both houses.
If a judge had accepted Nisman’s request to arrest Kirchner and Timerman then the request to strip them of their immunity would have had to be considered by Congress. There’s no chance of the request gaining a two-thirds vote but there would be the shame of having to vote it.
In an analysis he wrote for The Tower following Nisman’s suspicious death, MacDonagh concluded:
The coming days will tell us whether we live in a democracy—flawed but a democracy nonetheless—or a mafia state where local and foreign intelligence services do their grim work with the connivance of the highest authorities in the land—and where Jewish citizens can be slaughtered with almost no one being called to account.
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