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Argentine court revives bombing cover-up case against Fernandez
December 29, 2016 / 5:48 PM / 9 months ago

Argentine court revives bombing cover-up case against Fernandez

Argentina's President Christina Fernandez de Kirchner addresses a news conference at the chancellery in Berlin, October 6, 2010. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch/File Photo

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - An Argentine appeals court on Thursday revived a case accusing former President Christina Fernandez of trying to cover up Iran’s alleged role in the bombing of a Buenos Aires Jewish centre in 1994.

The prosecutor who first brought the allegation, Alberto Nisman, died mysteriously in January 2015, and a judge later threw the case out for lack of evidence. But that ruling was revoked on Thursday, opening Fernandez to prosecution.

“The evidence does not allow for a clear dismissal of the possible commission of illicit acts,” the country’s official CIJ Judicial Information Center said in a statement. “The accusations must be weighed in advance of dismissal.”

Argentine courts have accused Iran of sponsoring the attack, which killed 85 people at the AMIA Jewish community centre.

Nisman was found in his home shot through the head days after accusing Fernandez of trying to derail the bombing investigation as part of a plan to close the country’s energy gap by trading Argentine grains for Iranian oil.

Late Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman speaks during a meeting with journalists in Buenos Aires, Argentina, May 29, 2013. Picture taken May 29, 2013. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci/File Photo

She dismisses the charge as absurd.

Rescue workers search for survivors and victims in the rubble left after a powerful car bomb destroyed the Buenos Aires headquarters of the Argentine Israeli Mutual Association (AMIA), killing 85 people, in this July 18, 1994 file photo. REUTERS/Enrique Marcarian/Files

Nisman’s death was initially classified as a suicide, but an official investigating the case said early this year that the evidence pointed to homicide.

The hard-charging prosecutor was just hours away from a scheduled appearance in Congress to brief lawmakers on his accusations against Fernandez when his body was found on the floor of his apartment, a 22-caliber pistol by his side.

Iran has repeatedly denied any link to the bombing, and an Argentine judge in February 2015 dismissed Nisman’s accusations as baseless. A review panel later agreed by a 2-1 vote, finding insufficient evidence to formally investigate Fernandez.

She has faced several criminal charges since leaving office a year ago. She was indicted this week on charges arising from allegations she and top officials from her administration skimmed money intended for public works projects.

Additional reporting by Maximilian Heath and Nicolas Misculin, Editing by Steve Orlofsky

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