EspañolOn Friday, February 13, Argentinean prosecutor Gerardo Pollicita formally placed President Cristina Kirchner under suspicion, echoing allegations made by Alberto Nisman that Kirchner and other key government figures concealed the involvement of Iranian officials in the AMIA Jewish center bombing in 1994.
Nisman’s 300-page judicial complaint was filed four days before he was found dead in the bathroom of his house with a gunshot to the head. The following day, he was due to give further details of the case before legislators; a warrant for Kirchner’s arrest was found in his waste paper basket.
Pollicita’s charges mirror those of Nisman in attributing the cover-up, ostensibly to secure cheap oil from Tehran, to Kirchner and Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman, union official Luis D’Elia, and deputy Andrés Larroque, among others.
“The deliberate decision to cover up for the Iranian suspects was taken by the head of the executive branch, Dr. Cristina Elisabeth Fernández de Kirchner, and implemented mainly by Argentina’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Héctor Marcos Timerman,” wrote Nisman, who was placed in charge of the special prosecution unit for the AMIA case in 2004.
Prosecutor Pollicita, the head of the national prosecuting authority for federal criminal cases, who was appointed to fill the vacancy left by Nisman via ballot, has not called for Kirchner’s immediate questioning, unlike his predecessor. Instead, the indictment is the first step in a chain of requirements before the president could even face the possibility of arrest.
In charges submitted to court, Pollicita also identified Iranian official Jorge Alejandro “Yussuf” Khalil, and senior justice and intelligence officials Héctor Luis Yrimia, Fernando Esteche, and Ramón Allan Héctor Bogado.
The prosecutor alleged that the conspiracy to cover up the Iranian role in the bombing, which left 85 dead, was orchestrated by “senior authorities within the Argentinean national government with the collaboration of third parties.”
The individuals involved are suspected of “criminal activity” regarding concealment for “aggravated personal favor, impediment, or hindrance” of justice, and “breach of the duties of public officials” under the Argentinean Penal Code, the prosecutor stated.
— Guadalupe Vazquez ? (@guadavazquez) February 13, 2015
“Urgent: Prosecutor Pollicita accuses the president of concealment.”
A Judicial “Coup”
Argentinean cabinet chief Jorge Capitanich used his morning press conference on Friday to dismiss the latest charges as an “active legal coup,” not intended to secure a court order but only “political impact” and “social upheaval.”
Nisman’s claim had “no legal validity because there is no evidence of any guilt” and is part of a “judicial coup d’etat,” he added.
Aníbal Fernández, general secretary of the presidency, similarly told press that “the complaint has no legal value,” labeling it a “clear maneuver for antidemocratic destabilization.”
Julio Cobos, former vice president during Cristina Kirchner’s first presidency, and now a presidential candidate for the opposition Radical Civic Union, said that he was not surprised with Fernández’s declarations.
“The government is used to bending its powers. It already does so in Congress, where we know we cannot offer suggestions to the bills submitted by the executive,” Cobos stated during an interview on Friday afternoon.
“I cannot expect anything other than dismissal of the allegations by Aníbal Fernández,” he added.
Treasury to the Rescue
On Friday, the attorney attached to the Argentinean treasury filed a document in the court responsible for reviewing evidence related to Nisman’s charges.
The treasury official submitted that there was “no evidence, not even of a circumstantial character, which proves the existence of conduct attributable to the president’s office or to government officials coming under the criminal acts established in the Penal Code.”
The statement also argued that the administrations of Néstor Kirchner (2003-2007) and his wife (since 2007) “have maintained a strong and clear position in the international arena, particularly in their submissions to the [United Nations], asking that the Islamic Republic of Iran provide effective collaboration in clarifying its role and responsibilities regarding the terrorist attack against the AMIA.”
Translated by Rebeca Morla. Edited by Laurie Blair.