A federal judge in Argentina has indicted former leftist President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner for treason, ordering her arrest for trying to cover up Iran's possible role in a 1994 bombing killing 85 people, according to Reuters.
“In January 2015, the prosecutor who initially made the accusation, Alberto Nisman, was found shot dead in the bathroom of his Buenos Aires apartment,” Reuters reported. “Nisman said Fernandez worked behind the scenes to clear Iran and normalize relations to clinch a grains-for-oil deal with Tehran.”
The death was classified as a suicide, according to Reuters. “[A]n official investigating the case has said the shooting appeared to be a homicide. Nisman’s body was discovered hours before he was to brief Congress on the bombing of the center.”
The timing of the shooting casts doubt on the circumstances regarding his “suicide.”
Kirchner is currently a senator, so Argentina's Congress would vote to strip her of parliamentary immunity before her arrest can occur. Judge Claudio Bonadio also ordered the house of arrest of Hector Timerman, who has been foreign minister under Kirchner.
Removing immunity for legislators is rare in Argentina. Congress voted on October 25 to remove immunity for Kirchner's former planning minister, Julio de Vido, who was arrested that same day, according to Reuters.
The attack occurred on July 18, 1994, at the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association's headquarters. A suicide bomber drove a van full of explosives into the building in Buenos Aires, killing 85 people and wounding hundreds more, according to Haaretz.
The association, founded in 1894, is a non-political, Jewish communal organization with employees and possessed a library of rare Jewish books.
At the time of the 1994 attack, the association served a community of 250,000 Jews, the second largest Jewish population in the Americas, second only to the U.S. The headquarters contained 100 years of historical archives. Everything was destroyed in the bombing.
“There is no way it can be described as something other than anti-Semitic,” Haaretz said.
The bombing occurred just two years after 29 people were killed in a car bombing at the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires.
Bonadio, in his ruling, wrote that evidence “in the case showed Iran, with the help of Argentine citizens, had appeared to achieve its goal of avoiding being declared a 'terrorist' state by Argentina,” according to Reuters.
The maximum sentence for treason in Argentina is punishable up to 10 to 25 years in prison.
Kirchner denies all claims of wrongdoing.