Argentine president accused of threatening prosecutor

Argentine president accused of threatening prosecutor

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) – President Alberto Fernández was embroiled in controversy Thursday after saying he hoped the prosecutor leading a corruption trial against Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner would not kill himself as he said , another prosecutor did after filing charges against her. .

The main opposition coalition, United for Change, characterized Fernandez’s remarks as “a thinly veiled threat to the personal safety of the federal prosecutor”. Some political leaders said they would seek charges against him.

Alberto Nisman was shot dead in January 2015, a day before he presented evidence against then-President Cristina Fernández, whom he accused of conspiring with Iran to cover up his alleged involvement in a 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires. .

Allies of the former president insist that Nisman committed suicide. But the opposition has long claimed he was murdered or instigated to kill himself.

In a television interview on Wednesday night, Fernández strongly defended the vice president, who faces corruption charges related to public works contracts awarded during his 2007-2015 government. This week, prosecutor Diego Luciani asked for a 12-year sentence against the former president.

Fernández was asked how he interpreted a recent Supreme Court request to increase security for judges and prosecutors “because there is always the memory of Nisman.”

Fernández said it was ridiculous to “promote the idea that what happened to Nisman could happen to prosecutor Luciani” and then went further, saying that “so far, what happened to Nisman is that he committed suicide; nothing else has been proven so far.”

“I hope prosecutor Luciani doesn’t do something like that,” he added.

Nisman’s death under mysterious circumstances has become a source of frenzied speculation in Argentina, with the issue falling squarely into the country’s deep divisions between supporters and critics of the former president.

The legal investigation into Nisman’s death remains open. Judge Julián Ercolini indicted a suspect in late 2017 as a “necessary participant” in Nisman’s death, which he is investigating as murder. Others were also indicted.

Many opposition leaders and members of the judiciary were quick to condemn Fernández, who defended his words Thursday morning, saying that “there was a huge misrepresentation of what I said.”

Fernández said the controversy stems from the fact that he disputed the idea held by many that Nisman was killed, “and the truth is that so far there is no evidence to support such a thing”.

Patricia Bullrich, chairman of the opposition Republican Proposal party, vowed on Thursday to seek charges against the president for “threatening prosecutor Luciani.” Other opposition lawmakers also sought accusations against the president for what they characterized as reckless and threatening statements.

The Association of Prosecutors and Employees of the Attorney General’s Office also repudiated Fernández’s words, which he characterized as “unpleasant and imprudent for an official who is only fulfilling his role”.

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