Argentina’s ex-president Kirchner denies cover-up in 1994 AMIA bombing

Argentina’s former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner has accused President Mauricio Macri of manipulating the justice system to intimidate her and other left-wing Opposition leaders.

“It (his action) not only violates the rule of law, but seeks to inflict personal and political harm on opponents,” Kirchner said.

Her comments came after Federal judge Claudio Bonadio ordered her arrest along with several former aides for allegedly covering up Iran’s role in the 1994 bombing at the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA) building that killed 85 people.

Bonadio said the 2012 memorandum of understanding (MoU) Argentina had signed with Tehran allowed Iranian officials suspected of ordering the attack to be investigated in their own country rather than in Argentina.

Addressing media, Kirchner said her government signed a MoU with Iran in 2012 only to move the case forward. There was no other way to proceed with the investigation as Iran and Argentina have no extradition agreement and Argentina does not conduct trials in absentia.

While signing the MoU, the government was acting within the framework of international law and no one has been put behind bars for such deals, she said.

Macri, by intimidating the opposition, wants to divert public attention from the failures of his government. It is a smoke curtain to scare people and unions, the leftist leader said.

Kirchner was recently elected a senator and she enjoys parliamentary immunity. Bonadio has called on the Senate to begin procedures to strip her of her immunity which requires a two-thirds majority of the parliament.

He has also ordered the arrest of former foreign minister Hector Timerman and several other former officials in the Kirchner government, including former top aide Carlos Zannini.