BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — An Argentine prosecutor on Wednesday, March 4, appealed a judge’s decision to throw out an investigation that accused President Cristina Fernandez of a cover-up deal with Iran, the latest twist in a case that has rocked the South American country in an election year.
The appeal by prosecutor Gerardo Pollicita sends the case to the Federal Chamber of judges, which can uphold or reject last week’s decision by federal Judge Daniel Rafecas.
In his sharply worded ruling last week, Rafecas said “there is not a single element of evidence, even circumstantial, that points to the head of state.”
Pollicita called that decision “premature,” arguing in his appeal that an investigation was needed to “prove or disprove the facts.”
The case was being built by prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who was found dead in his apartment bathroom on Jan. 18, the day before he was to detail his allegations to Congress. Nisman accused Fernandez and top administration officials of helping Iranian officials hide their role in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center, which killed 85 and stands as the country’s worst terrorist attack. Fernandez has rejected the allegations, and Iran has denied any role in the bombing.
Fernandez, constitutionally barred from running for a third term, has struggled to confront a growing scandal on two fronts: Nisman’s case against her and the investigation into his mysterious death, which has not been solved. According to polls, many Argentines believe she had a hand in it. Beyond legal ramifications, both cases have wide implications for Fernandez’s legacy and her ruling party’s chances in October elections.