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Argentina Ex-leader on Trial for Covering Up Iranian Terrorist Role

Argentina Ex-leader on Trial for Covering Up Iranian Terrorist Role

Wednesday, 7 March, 2018 - 07:30
Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez speaks during a signing agreements ceremony at the government house in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
Buenos Aires - Asharq Al-Awsat
Former President Cristina Fernandez will face trial on charges she covered up the role of Iranians in a 1994 terrorist bombing at a Jewish center in Argentina's capital, judicial authorities announced earlier this week.

Eleven other former officials and people close to Fernandez's government will also be tried on charges of cover-up and abuse of power, Federal Judge Claudio Bonadio said in a ruling released by Argentina's official CIJ Judicial Information Center.

The trial date has not been set, according to The Associated Press.

So far, four of the accused have been detained. In December, Bonadio asked lawmakers to remove Fernandez's immunity from prosecution, which she gained last year when she was sworn in as a senator. Legislators have not acted on the request. The immunity protects her from being arrested, but she can still be tried, said the AP.

Fernandez, who was president in 2007-2015, denies any wrongdoing or involvement in any cover-up involving Argentina's worst terror attack. The 1994 bombing of the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association center in Buenos Aires in Buenos Aires killed 85 people and wounded hundreds. Iran denies any involvement.

AP said that the judge backed an assertion against Fernandez made on Jan. 14, 2015, by Alberto Nisman, a prosecutor who was investigating the case. Nisman said the 2013 agreement that Fernandez's government made with Iran in exchange for favorable deals on oil and other goods ensured that Iranian officials involved in the attack would escape prosecution.

Nisman was found dead in his apartment with a bullet wound in his right temple four days later. His case remains unsolved. But last year, an investigation by Argentina's border police agency concluded that Nisman was murdered, contradicting earlier official findings that Nisman likely killed himself.

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