SUPPORTERS of former Argentinian president Cristina Fernandez protested in Buenos Aires on Thursday night after she was detained for alleged treason.
Demonstrators took to the city’s Plaza de Mayo after Ms Fernandez was taken into custody over claims that she had covered up alleged Iranian government involvement in a 1994 car-bomb attack on the Argentinian Israelite Mutual Association that killed 86 people.
Ms Fernandez, who stood up to US “vulture fund” creditors when in office, faces up to 10 years in jail.
Federal Judge Claudio Bonadio said that the widow and successor of former president Nestor Kirchner could be held liable for “treason against the fatherland” and “aggravated cover-up” of the claimed involvement of five Iranian government officials in the terrorist act.
Judge Bonadio claimed that a memorandum of understanding with Iran signed by Ms Fernandez in 2013 contained an agreement not to investigate Tehran’s alleged role.
He asked the Senate to strip Ms Fernandez of her immunity, a decision that requires a two-thirds majority.
The former president, who was sworn in as a senator just last week, branded the charges an attack on democracy and the rule of law and said Judge Bonadio and President Mauricio Macri represented a “political and judicial organisation to persecute the opposition.
“From a legal point of view, this is a nonsense, an excess,” she told a press conference.
“These measures not only violate the rule of law but seek to cause personal and political harm to opponents, their career, their ideas.
“It has nothing to do with justice and democracy,” she insisted.
Ms Fernandez called the charges a “smokescreen” and said they had “no cause.”
Trade union federation CTEP leader and lawyer Juan Grabois called for protests “against the policy of repression and the persecution of opponents promoted by the government.”
Similar calls also came from the Milagro Sala Front, founded to defend the indigenous leader who was acquitted on Thursday, and her own Tupac Amaru association, which said: “Today they assassinated the rule of law.”
Venezuela’s ruling United Socialist Party also gave its support to Ms Fernandez, with National Constituent Assembly speaker Delcy Rodriguez saying: “We will not be quiet or frightened … They will not punish us nor provoke us.”
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