LATIN AMERICA

Argentinean prosecutor drafted arrest warrant for Fernández de Kirchner

Investigators found document in Alberto Nisman’s trash the day his body was discovered

President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner with her Economy Minister Axel Kicillof.
President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner with her Economy Minister Axel Kicillof.ENRIQUE MARCARIAN / REUTERS

The Argentinean prosecutor who was found dead in his home last month drafted a petition for the arrest of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner on charges she and others tried to cover up an investigation into the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center, authorities confirmed on Tuesday.

The document, which was found by investigators in the garbage of Alberto Nisman’s home, also called for the detentions of Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman and ruling party lawmaker Andrés Larroque.

Nisman, who died from a gunshot wound to his head, had filed charges against Fernández de Kirchner and the others on January 14, alleging that the president tried to seek impunity for Iranians charged in the terrorist attack in exchange for a grain-for-oil deal with Tehran.

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While the Argentinean government has vehemently denied the allegations, the case has caused uproar across the country.

Nisman, who was was found dead four days after he filed the charges, was scheduled to testify in Congress the following day about the evidence he had compiled.

On Tuesday, Viviana Fein, the lead investigator into Nisman’s death, confirmed the discovery of the draft writ, which was dated last June. But she explained that he had not included it with the complaint filed last month with a Buenos Aires judge.

Confusion arose after the Argentinean government denied a report first published by Clarín on Sunday about the evidence police found in his garbage. Cabinet chief Jorge Capitanich tore up Sunday’s edition of the newspaper in front of reporters, charging the opposition daily of publishing lies.

At first, Fein confirmed the government’s version that the story was untrue, but later retracted. She said the draft was found in the garbage, and refuted that she had been placed under pressure by the Fernández de Kirchner administration to deny its existence. She said the draft had been included in her ongoing investigation into Nisman’s death.

Various civic organizations and opposition groups in Argentina were expected to hold a march later Wednesday in Buenos Aires to demand justice for the 1994 bombing and answers over Nisman's death.

Cabinet chief Jorge Capitanich tears up a copy of ‘Clarín’ newspaper on Monday.
Cabinet chief Jorge Capitanich tears up a copy of ‘Clarín’ newspaper on Monday.EFE

The attack at the AMIA center left 85 people dead and dozens injured. Warrants were issued for various top Iranian officials in 2007 but no arrests have so far been made.

The 51-year-old Nisman originally wanted arrest warrants issued for Fernández de Kirchner, Timerman and Larroque but decided not to seek them.

Nisman had based his complaint on surveillance recordings made by Argentinean intelligence sources of officials discussing the terms of the alleged agreement with Iranian authorities. However, legal experts quoted by another opposition daily, La Nación, said it would have been difficult for the late prosecutor to have used the recordings, newspaper articles and other evidence as basis for his accusations.

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