An Argentine judge has dismissed charges against President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman accusing the head of state of conspiring to protect Hezbollah terrorists in exchange for lower oil prices from the government of Iran.
Judge Daniel Rafecas asserted in his ruling that prosecutor Gerardo Pollicita, who presented the charges on behalf of slain prosecutor Alberto Nisman, that “neither of the two hypotheses presented by prosecutor Pollicita in his charge can be minimally sustained.” The prosecutors contended that there was evidence that Fernández de Kircher’s government had attempted to convince Interpol to remove the suspects believed responsible for the 1994 bombing of the Argentine Israeli Mutual Association–the deadliest terror attack in the nation’s history–from their wanted lists. The official charge also accused the government of signing a memorandum of understanding with Iran that would create a “Commission of Truth” set to investigate the bombing, which, thanks to the involvement of Iran, would result in no charges.
On the second charge of agreeing on a deal with Iran, Rafecas stated in his opinion that the charge “can be dismissed in an outright and lapidary manner, resulting in the same conclusion that there exists no crime.”
Much of the evidence, he states, is “circumstantial.”
Prosecutor Alberto Nisman had drafted a nearly 300-page complaint against the Kirchner government before his death on January 18, which he was to present to the Argentina Congress on January 19. The complaint alleged that Fernández de Kirchner had worked with the Iranian government to protect the terrorists responsible for the bombing, which are believed to have been members of the Shiite terrorist group Hezbollah, and even plotted to blame the bombing on “right-wing” groups, rather than radical Muslims. An arrest warrant for the President of Argentina and Foreign Minister were found in his trash after his death, suggesting that he had considered calling for the arrest but reconsidered the move. Since the President enjoys executive immunity, the arrest warrant would not have resulted in her transfer to prison but, rather, the beginning of an impeachment process to strip her of her immunity. Fernández de Kirchner’s term is set to end in October, when she will no longer possess immunity rights.
Nisman was found dead with a gunshot wound in his forehead, a death initially ruled a suicide. Polls show few in Argentina believe Nisman killed himself; instead, many accuse the Argentine government of ending his life before he presented his complaint. On February 18, to commemorate one month since his death, nearly half a million Argentines took to the streets of Buenos Aires to call for justice in his case, many accusing President Fernández de Kirchner of being involved.
President Fernández de Kirchner has denied involvement in his death, instead claiming the killers acted to destabilize and mar her government.