Former Argentine president to go on trial for allegedly covering up Iranian involvement in Jewish center bombing

Former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner is one of 12 ex-government officials in Argentina going on trial in the AMIA Jewish center bombing case. (Mauro Rico via Flickr)

(JTA) — Former Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner will go to trial over accusations that she covered up the alleged involvement of senior Iranian officials in the 1994 bombing of a Buenos Aires Jewish center.

Eleven other former government officials also will be tried on charges involving the cover-up and abuse of power, a federal judge ruled Monday.

No date has not been set for the trial, which reportedly will be public.

In December, the judge, Claudio Bonadio asked the Argentine Senate to strip Kirchner, who now serves as a senator, of her parliamentary immunity to clear the way for an arrest and trial. The Senate has not acted on the request, which prevents an arrest but not a trial, The Associated Press reported.

The attack on the AMIA center killed 85 and left hundreds wounded. Iran has denied any involvement. Kirchner signed a memorandum of understanding with Iran in 2013 to jointly investigate the attacks but her successor, Mauricio Macrii canceled it in December 2015 during his first week in office.

The decision to put Kirchner and the former government officials on trial dates back to the accusation made in 2015 by the late Alberto Nisman, the prosecutor charged with investigating Iran’s alleged role in the AMIA bombing. Nisman claimed that Kirchner had set up a “parallel communication channel” with Iran in order to avoid incriminating senior Iranian government officials in the bombing.

Nisman was found shot to death in his apartment in January 2015, the day before he was scheduled to present his allegations to the Argentine Congress. His shooting has been ruled a homicide after initially being called a suicide.

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