Judge orders former president Cristina Fernandez to trial over allegations based on notebook entries just as she and Alberto Fernandez are ahead in the presidential polls.
Federal Judge Claudio Bonadio on Friday asked Argentine's Senate to take away Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner's legislative immunity in order to put the lawmaker in preventive dentention for alleged connections to the "Notebooks" corruption case.
For the second time in less than a year, former president Fernandez (2007-2015) must appear in federal court for her alleged connections to irregular public spending during her administration.
The judge's decision comes just as Fernandez de Kirchner is running for vice president alongside Alberto Fernandez for the Oct. 27 elections, and polls and primaries show them as the favorites to win.
Prosecutor Carlos Stornelli accuses Fernandez de Kirchner of being the "boss" of an illicit ring of politicians who raised money from private companies in exchange for granting them public contracts. A ledger 'notebook' supposedly lists all the transactions. A former chofer of Fernandez de Kirchner allegedly recorded the sums of money that the former president and her husband, Nestor Kirchner, also a former head of state, received.
More than 170 people have already been processed in the Notebooks case, among them are the owners of large private businesses who have already been released.
[AHORA] Baltasar Garzón "Cristina Fernández de Kirchner está siendo objeto de una clara persecución política, lo mismo Lula y Correa, por defender al pueblo y enfrentar estructuras de poder inconmensurables" #ElPase | https://t.co/guapH7iW9N pic.twitter.com/7ZnUh7nmky— Radio Colonia (@Coloniaam550) September 17, 2019
Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzon: "Like Lula and Correa, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner is being the object of a clear political persecution because she defends the people and faces immeasurable power structures."
During the previous legal proceedings related to the case, Fernandez de Kirchern's lawyers denounced several irregularities, including biased statements made by other defendants, indiscriminate detentions, burned evidence and other constitutional and due process violations.
According to Judge Bonadino, the vice presidential candidate should appear at an oral trial in the near future, but his requet for Cristina's preventive dentention cannot be executed until the Argentinian legislative removes Fernandez de Kirchner's legal immunity as a sitting legislator.
If this were to happen before the next elections on Oct. 27, Argentina would experience an unprecedented political crisis, amid growing popular mobilizations which are being carried out in rejection of President Mauricio Macri's neoliberal policies, rising unemployment, poverty and hunger.