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Argentina: Trial over attempted murder of Cristina Kirchner

June 26, 2024

An Argentine court has charged three individuals with conspiring to kill then-Vice President Cristina Kirchner. Prosecutors say the suspect pulled the trigger of a loaded gun, but the gun did not fire.

Cristina Kirchner waving her fan as she attends the opening of a law school in Argentina
Kirchner was Argentina's first lady before becoming president in 2007Image: Gustavo Garello/AP Photo/picture alliance

An Argentine court on Wednesday began the trial against three individuals accused of attempting to murder then-Vice President Cristina Kirchner.

The suspect in the shooting, Fernando S. M., 37, appeared alongside his then-girlfriend Brenda U., 25, who is being charged as a co-conspirator. Their friend, Nicolas C., 29, is also being charged as an accomplice.

What was the plan to kill Christina Kirchner?

Fernando S. M. was captured on video attempting to shoot Kirchner as she mingled and shook hands with supporters that had gathered outside her home on September 1, 2022.

The suspect pulled the trigger of the loaded gun, but the weapon did not fire.

The charge sheet cited messages between Fernando S. M. and Brenda U. that referenced killing Kirchner.

"I'm going to go to Cristina's house with the gun and I'm going to shoot her," one message from Fernando S. M read.

After the attack, Nicolas C. sent a message saying that Fernando S. M was "one second away from being a national hero."

"They were fully aware of what they were doing and its possible consequences," according to the charge sheet.

More than 270 witness are expected to be called to the trial, including Kirchner herself, according to the politician's lawyer, Marcos Aldazabal.

Sabag Montiel and Uliarte face up to 15 years in prison for attempted premeditated homicide.

Who is Cristina Kirchner?

Kirchner came to prominence as the wife of late President Nestor Kirchner, who was in office from 2003 to 2007.

She then served as the country's president from 2007 to 2015 and as vice president from 2019 to 2023.

The former president is a member of the Peronist Justicialist Party and is a critic of right-wing populist and self-described "anarcho-capitalist" President Javier Milei.

In December 2022, Kirchner was sentenced to six years in jail and disqualified from holding office over a corruption conviction. She is appealing the verdict and has described the case against her as a political witch hunt.

Kirchner has also criticized the investigation into the attempt to murder her, alleging that it covered up a broader plot against her by her political opponents.

sdi/dj (AFP, dpa, Reuters, AP)