An Argentinian judge on Thursday ordered the arrest of the country’s former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, accusing her of covering up Iranian involvement in the 1994 bombing at the Buenos Aires Jewish center that killed 85 people and wounded 300, The Times of Israel reported.
The former president, who now serves as a senator, is accused of signing a 2012 deal with Iran that would have allowed senior Iranian officials implicated in the attack to be investigated in their own country, rather than in Argentina.
In December of 2015, after succeeding the Kirchner government, the government of new Argentinian President Mauricio Macri announced that it would not renew the agreement with Iran. In 2014 a court had ruled that the pact was unconstitutional, but Kirchner had appealed the decision.
In 2015, Argentina declassified files on two attacks, which devastated the country’s Jewish community: the files on the 1994 bombing and documents relating to the 1992 bombing outside the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires that left 29 dead and 200 wounded. The Iranian-backed Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah has been implicated in both atrocities, but no one has ever been convicted.
Kirchner is now facing accusations of treason, as judge Claudio Bonadio asked lawmakers to remove the immunity from prosecution she has as a senator. For the immunity to be lifted, a two-thirds majority is needed in the chamber.
The case came back into the spotlight 21 years later, after a Jewish prosecutor appointed to reopen the investigation died mysteriously in what his family claims was an assassination. In November, Argentina’s border police agency concluded that Alberto Nisman, who led the probe, was murdered just four days after formally accusing then-president Kirchner of the cover-up in January 2015.
Prosecutors subsequently ordered a murder investigation into Nisman’s death, previously ruled a likely suicide, after he was found dead in his apartment with a bullet wound to the head a day before he was to appear before congress to set out his case.
Her role in the cover-up of the Jewish center bombing is the most serious charge before Kirchner, who is also facing accusations of corruption and money laundering stemming from her years as president.
[Photo: Ministerio de Cultura de la Nación Argentina / Flickr ]