A federal prosecutor indicted Argentine President Alberto Fernández for violating the sanitary restrictions he had himself decreed, after evidence surfaced of a large gathering at the Olivos Residence in July 2020 to celebrate the First Lady's birthday while the rest of the country was placed under quarantine.
Fernández filed a request before the courts to be spared the trial and to be allowed to donate half his presidential salary to a microbiology institute for his doings. Law scholars in Buenos Aires have told MercoPress that skipping a trial is explicitly forbidden in the case of government officials.
I believe that at this stage of the process it corresponds to formalize the investigation described against the President of the Nation, Dr. Alberto Ángel Fernández, Prosecutor Ramiro González wrote in hus filing.
Charges were also broght up against First Lady Fabiola Yáñez and every guest at the celebration.
According to Argentine penal law, the person against whom a process has been initiated or is about to be initiated, may appear before the competent judge in order to testify. If the statement is received in the manner prescribed for the investigation, it will be valid as such. to any effect, which has been interpreted as an implicit admission on Fernández's part that he is aware that he will be subject to criminal prosecution. The head of state apologized for his doings, which is also an admission of guilt. It remains to be seen of what.
The president decided to appear in court in his own right and will donate half of his salary to the Malbrán Institute for four months, said the Office of the Presidency in a statement.
According to a presidential decree issued in March 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic, the country was under strict confinement from which only essential workers were exempted.
The case has dealt a severe blow to the Government, less than a month before the September 12 primary, open, simultaneous and mandatory (PASO) elections, ahead of the legislative elections in November.