Argentine Judge Calls for Arrest of Ex-President Fernandez

NATION-NOW     Ex-president of Argentina faces arrest warrant for allegedly covering up a bombing     
       Ex-president of Argentina faces arrest warrant

A judge in Argentina issued a warrant for the arrest of former president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner on Thursday on charges of treason.

Judge Claudio Bonadio also called on the Senate to begin procedures to strip her of her parliamentary immunity, which requires a two-thirds majority.

The former president is accused of signing a deal with Tehran to allow Iranian officials suspected of ordering the attack on the Jewish centre to be interviewed by Argentine magistrates in Tehran rather than in Buenos Aires.

The case is based on a complaint introduced by special prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who was found dead in his apartment in Buenos Aires on January 18, 2015.

Kirchner, who has long claimed her legal woes are politically motivated, accused center-right President Mauricio Macri of "manipulating" the justice system to discredit her. It's an effort complicated by legal troubles, with three indictments on corruption charges already pending before federal courts.

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Prosecutor Eduardo Taiano said the judge also ordered the arrest of Carlos Zanni, her former aide, and Luis D'Elia, a high-profile Kirchner activist, on the same charges. Former Foreign Minister Hector Timerman was put under house arrest.

The order is the latest move to resolve a case that's gripped Argentina for years.

Kirchner, who was sworn in as a senator on November 29, along with former officials in her government, were accused by prosecutor Gerardo Pollicita of an "aggravated cover-up" of the bombing that is considered a crime against humanity. Nisman accused then-President Kirchner of the cover-up and was found dead hours before he was set to present his case to Congress in 2015.

The attack on the Jewish community center killed 85 people and injured a further 150, making it the deadliest bombing in the country's history.

The Senate will now have to vote on lifting Kirchner's immunity, however, this is not likely to happen before the end of 2017, according to Bo, because of the holiday recess and divisions over the validity of the judge's decision.

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