An Argentine judge has ordered that former Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner be put in pretrial detention.
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Federal judge Claudio Bonadio alleges that Fernandez committed crimes against the state in trying to "conceal" the possible involvement of five Iranian officials in Argentina in the bombing of the Israeli Argentine Mutualist Association, AMIA, building in Buenos Aires in 1994.
Eighty-six people were killed in the explosion. The bombing remains unsolved.
The judge claims that in signing a memorandum of understanding with Iranian officials in Argentina in 2013, Fernandez agreed to not investigate possible Iranian involvement in the attack, “aggravating” the inquiry and granting the alleged bombers impunity.
The 2013 memorandum was never legally enacted in Iran, but was by the Argentine Congress. However, an Argentine judge ruled the memorandum unconstitutional.
If convicted, Fernandez could face up to 10 to 25 years of jail time or even life in prison.
Fernandez, along with all other 23 newly-elected senators, are set to take up their congressional post this Sunday, Dec. 10. She and the other senators were sworn in last week.
Bonadio also ordered the arrest of former Argentine government official Hector Timerman. Already arrested for alleged involvement in the memorandum is former Secretary General Carlos Zannini, who served under Fernandez. He was questioned about the memorandum by Bonadio in October and denied any wrongdoing.
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Also arrested today in the early morning were activists Luis D’Elia and Jorge “Yussuf” Khalil. As officials arrested D’Elía, he yelled “stop the Macri dictatorship!” alluding to current President Mauricio Macri.
Up to 12 other former government officials are suspected of playing a part in the so-called "cover up," but are not being detained.
Fernandez says the memorandum attempted to advance the investigation and called for the creation of an international commission to investigate the bombing. She says the commission had orders of extradition pending for Interpol to deliver several accused who reside in Iran to Argentina. These extradition orders were never carried out.
An investigation into the memorandum was first ordered by a former attorney general in 2015, but was denied by a federal court in 2016.