The Argentine prosecutor who took over the investigation of the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center in Buenos Aires following the death of Alberto Nisman charged President Cristina Fernández for allegedly trying to cover up Iran's role in the attack.
Prosecutor Gerardo Pollicita's decision to go forward with the case was significant because it sets the stage for a close examination of the investigation that prosecutor Alberto Nisman was building before he was found dead Jan. 18.
Nisman had accused Cristina Fernández, Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman and others in her administration of brokering the cover up in exchange for favorable deals on oil and other goods from Iran. The Argentine president has strongly denied the accusations, and Iran has repeatedly denied involvement in the bombing, which killed 85 people and injured over 300.
Pollicita will present his finding to Judge Daniel Rafecas, the federal magistrate assigned to the case who will ultimately decide whether to dismiss it or send it on to trial. His 62-page statement was posted on the prosecutor general's website and is addressed to Judge Rafecas.
Nisman determined the decision to shield those of Iranian origin who were implicated in the 18 July 1994, terrorist attack, Pollicita's report reads, was taken by Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, the chief executive, and carried out, for the most part, by the Minister of Foreign Relations, Hector Timerman.
A number of others were named in the charges, including congressman Andrés Larroque.
Even before Pollicita's decision, amid rumors that it was coming, the administration was moving to both reject and minimize it.
Speaking to reporters early Friday, Presidential spokesman Anibal Fernández said moving the case forward was a clear maneuver to destabilize democracy but that ultimately it has no legal value. It does not matter.
According to the New York Times, both Cristina Fernández and Timerman have immunity as serving members of the executive branch. In order to bring them to trial for these charges, a judge would authorize a political trial – a proceeding somewhat analogous to an impeachment in the United States – and ask Congress to lift their immunity.