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Argentine ministers rally behind President Fernandez

February 15, 2015

Ministers have rallied behind Argentina's president after she was formally charged over her alleged role in protecting Iranian suspects in a terrorist bombing. She also received support from her counterpart in Ecuador.

Argentinien Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner
Image: Reuters/E. Marcarian

Supporters of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner have said the case is being used to destabilize her government.

Two political leaders, regarded as potential successors to the president, have spoken in her support. Interior and transport minister Florencio Randazzo said the allegations that she had anything to do with the 1994 bombing were "utter nonsense." Governor of Entre Rios province, Fernando "Chino" Navarro, said, "The worst of the media has been joined with the worst of the judiciary."

Presidential spokesman Anibal Fernandez said there had been no formal request for subpoena in the deceased state prosecutor Nisman's written allegations. "They have not been able to back up a single thing, and that's why there has been no formal request for subpoena."

Ecuador's President Rafael Correa also lent his support to Fernandez who he said "faces a new attempt at destabilization." Making his weekly report, Correa said the case was an indication of the resurgence of the right wing in Latin America who were using "legal authorities to try to destabilize progressive governments in our America."

The indictment filed Friday against Fernandez endorsed the claim made by investigating prosecutor Alberto Nisman before he was found dead on the eve of a congressional hearing.

Worst terrorist bombing

The case surrounds the investigation into the 1994 bombing at the Buenos Aires Jewish center, known as AMIA. After the initial investigation ended without convictions, Nisman was appointed to reopen the case in 2006. He accused Iran of ordering the attack via Lebanon's Shiite Hezbollah movement, and requested arrest warrants for five Iranian officials including former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.

On January 14, four days before he was found dead, Nisman filed a 300-page report accusing the president of colluding to shield the Iranian suspects from prosecution. While his death was initially regarded as suicide, suspicion has fallen on Fernandez's government.

Fernandez claims Nisman was manipulated by former intelligence agents who then killed him to smear her.

It would require a two-thirds majority in Congress to remove Fernandez's presidential immunity from prosecution.

A rally has been planned by public officials and opposition political parties for next Wednesday in the capital Buenos Aires to mark one month since Nisman's death.

jm/sb (Reuters, dpa, AFP)