A federal prosecutor in Argentina – Gerardo Pollicita – has revived the late Alberto Nisman’s startling accusations with an indictment on Friday that seeks to charge President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and other politicians with trying to cover up Iran’s involvement in the bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires in 1994.
Pollicita looks to continue the case that Nisman had begun by charging President Fernández , the foreign minister, and other political supporters of the President.
Alberto Nisman, the previous prosecutor, was mysteriously found dead in his apartment on January 18, a day before he was about to present evidence that he claimed linked President Fernández to the cover up.
Investigators later found in his trash can a drafted arrest warrant for the President and her foreign minister.
Initially Nisman’s death was ruled a suicide, however police have found no evidence to substantiate this claim.
Nisman had claimed that President Fernandez had opened a secret back channel to Iran in order to cover up Tehran’s alleged involvement in the 1994 bombing and to help Argentina gain access to Iranian oil so that it could close the gap on its $7 billion annual energy deficit.
Five Iranian citizens were accused by Argentine courts of being involved in the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people, however they have denied such charges.
The Iranian government has repeatedly denied any such involvement in the attack on the AMIA center.
Following Nisman’s death, President Fernández alleged that prosecutor Nisman was murdered by forces who were trying to remove her from office.
“The criminal complaint by prosecutor Nisman was never in itself the true plot against the government,” President Fernandez wrote, adding that the investigation would “collapse like a house of cards.”
Instead, the President suggested that the “real” plot against her was Nisman’s actual death.
“They used him while he was alive, and then they needed him dead,” she wrote. “It’s that sad and terrible.”
In a 61-page court filing on Friday, Pollicita says that the “investigation will be initiated with an eye toward substantiating the accusations and whether those responsible can be held criminally responsible.”
Following the news of the indictment, President Fernández’s cabinet chief – Jorge Capitanich – called the move by Pollicita “judicial putschism” and “an active strategy of destabilization.”
President Fernández’s chief of staff – Anibal Fernandez – said that the accusations were a politically motivated “destabilization maneuver” with “no legal validity.”
“They have absolutely no judicial weight whatsoever. It looks like they’re already trying to condemn her and say she’s guilty. But it has no connection to reality and it’s not as important as some think it is,” she said.
The scandal in Argentina has shocked the nation, eight months ahead of its October Presidential election, and has weighed on President Fernández’s popularity.
Under Argentine law, Fernández can’t be prosecuted without being stripped of immunity, however she is leaving office at the end of the year as she cannot run for a third consecutive Presidential term due to the nation’s constitution.