Former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner refused to testify before Federal Judge Claudio Bonadio regarding her alleged involvement in covering up Iran’s role in the 1994 AMIA Jewish center attack – in which 85 people were killed and more than 700 injured – in exchange for trade deals.
Instead, she presented a written statement in which she “expressly denied to having an illegal behavior” by signing the so-called Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Iran in 2013, which, at least in theory, was aimed at establishing an bilateral committee to investigate the terrorist attack.
This whole case began because late Prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who led a special unit investigating the bombing, disagreed. He assured that the MOU really intended to cover up the responsibility of Iranian officials involved in the bombing in exchange for trade agreements. And accused the former President, as well as other high-ranking Kirchnerite officials, of orchestrating the whole thing. As we all know, Nisman was found dead in his apartment with a single gunshot wound to the head four days after making that accusation, and one before backing it up before Congress. Read more about his accusation and the state of the investigation regarding his death here.
Back to the statement, the former President argued that “The MOU was a peaceful and diplomatic solution both countries chose to solve the controversy and allow for the Argentine judiciary to conduct some required inquiries for the necessary advance of the case,” reads a part of the letter.
The statement goes on to say that her administration “opted for a policy based on denouncing [Iran] on international forums” and “narrowing [bilateral] relations with Iran to the peaceful resolution of this controversy.” “This strategy proved to be fruitful, as Iran finally agreed to start negotiations aimed at solving the existing difference,” she added.
Fernández also substantiated her argument by rejecting another of point Nisman’s accusation, which argued that Argentina had also agreed to drop its long standing international arrest warrants issued by Interpol – called “red notices” – pointing out that the international law enforcement organization “accepted Argentina’s position that its red notices wouldn’t by affected by the signing of the MOU. “In fact, those notices continue to exist,” she said.
By the end of her statement, the former President targeted Judge Bonadio himself, saying that he was “charged with covering up the AMIA attack and removed from the investigation because of it.” “You paralyzed that investigation for almost five years. You were accused of protecting other people accused, of covering up for others, of being a part of a plot to drive away Nisman from the investigation and even intend to attack the prosecutor and his family,” the statement adds.
And she concluded: “Dr. Bonadio, I don’t expect justice from you. But I trust that once Argentina goes back to having a proper rule of law, so dramatically affected today by the filthy relationship between the Judicial and Executive branches of government, the justice that I seek will be provided.”
Once she left the courthouse, the former President addressed the media present and, same as every time she has to testify in a federal case, accused the Macri administration of being behind it. “I believe the most important thing I have to tell you today is that the only treason to the country [she’s being formally accused of treason] is using the Judiciary to persecute the opposition,” she said.
“The goal of this persecution is scaring opposition leaders into staying silent in Parliament. They want a submissive Parliament, they want for everyone to vote what they want, but they won’t get their way with me,” she continued.
The former President concluded by saying that she’s “willing to represent the three and a half million residents of the Buenos Aires Province who rejected austerity [her way of referring to the government].” “This intention to shut down the opposition has to do with their austerity measures, so the news cycle talks about something different than the increases in oil prices,” she concluded.