The controversy surrounding the recent statements former Supreme Court Justice Eugenio Zaffaroni has intensified in the last few hours after he doubled down on his previous statements and repeated that he wished for Macri to be removed from office or for his administration to end before the next presidential elections in 2019.
Following a court order from Federal Judge Ariel Lijo, law enforcement officials showed up at the radio station in which the interview was recorded yesterday in order to seize the original recording.
The court order comes after lawyer Santiago Dupuy de Lome – who, according to La Nación, has close ties with the government – pressed charges against Zaffaroni, who currently has a seat in the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR), accusing him of “apología del delito,” which in Argentina means incitement to commit a crime.
Dupuy De Lome pressed charges in January, shortly after Zaffaroni’s first statement, but the courts were in summer recess then, so the police operation was only carried out yesterday, after all other procedural steps were taken.
In an interview with Perfil, Radio Caput director Juan Martín Ramos Padilla said that police officers were behaving as if they were “conducting a raid, trying to barge their way into the station,” even though that was not what they were meant to do.
“I asked the operator to tell them to wait [he was not there when police showed up] but they insisted, threatened to put him in jail and said they would take the door down. They had a court order from Ariel Lijo, which didn’t say they were authorized to enter the premises, but to ask me for a recording of my interview with Zaffaroni from January 17,” he said.
— Radio Caput (@RadioCaput) February 14, 2018
Such turn of events is far from being new in the Argentine political-judicial landscape. Considering the infinite depth of the country’s divide (or “grieta“) and that we live in a society in which pressing charges is much simpler than getting a package delivered to your house (seriously), practically all relevant political actors have had more than a few legal cases opened against them. Needless to say, not many of them tend to prosper.
However, the statements have become the controversy of the week, prompting harsh statements from government officials as well as other high-ranking figures from the political landscape, who have called for Zaffaroni to resign from his current post.
They argue his words come from someone who is “a partisan coup-monger” and is therefore incompatible with an office that demands high standards of morality and impartiality.
- Read more: Argentine Government Vs. Justice Zaffaroni: Could He Be Removed from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights?
Zaffaroni, predictably, indicated he would not resign.
In another radio interview he said he had “merely warned about the risks” he spots “in the economic landscape, which can transcend to the social one,” and clarified it’s impossible to “stage a coup in Argentina. There is no political force that can destabilize the government,” he added.
However, February is rather slow in terms of political news, so we are set to continue talking about the matter until it fades and is sent to the great hall of crossed accusations through the media, at least until a new scandal emerges and we all focus our short attention spans on that.