Argentine ex-president in court over Jewish center bombing

Argentina’s former president Cristina Fernandez was in court to face accusations that she covered up Iran’s responsibility for the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires.

Former President Cristina Fernandez appeared before a court Thursday as part of an investigation into a prosecutor’s accusation that she covered up Iran’s alleged involvement in Argentina’s worst terrorist attack.

The 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires killed 85 people and injured hundreds. Her government struck a 2013 accord with Iran portrayed as a way to reach the truth behind the attack, but the deal was later ruled unconstitutional.

The special prosecutor investigating the case, Alberto Nisman, was found dead in his apartment in 2015, days after he made the charge against Fernandez. Nisman believed Fernandez was using the deal with Iran to secretly negotiate and help shield the Iranian officials allegedly behind the attack.

Fernandez has denied the allegations, and she charged Thursday that current President Mauricio Macri is politically manipulating the judge who ordered her to appear in court as part of the case.

She declined to testify. Instead, she presented a written statement in which she said the accord with Iran had sought to advance the investigation in the unsolved bombing.

“The negotiations with Iran had only one goal: to allow prosecutors to question the Iranians who have been charged,” she said.

Fernandez said the case had faced hurdles because Iran refused to extradite the suspects and Argentina doesn’t allow for trying suspects in absentia.

The case has moved forward only in fits and starts in Argentina’s judiciary and has been frustrated by Iran’s refusal to cooperate.

In her statement, Fernandez accused Judge Claudio Bonadio, who summoned her to testify, of “being part of the attack’s cover-up” tied to the 1989-1999 administration of President Carlos Menem. Menem is on trial for allegedly derailing the investigation into the bombing.

Since leaving office, Fernandez has been hit by a string of corruption scandals and was indicted last year.

By: AP