Argentina prosecutor requests 12-year sentence for VP Fernández
Buenos Aires, Aug 22 (EFE).- An Argentinian federal prosecutor on Monday requested a 12-year prison sentence for Vice President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner on corruption charges related to public works.
The trial, running since 2019, has investigated alleged irregularities in the concession of 51 public works to firms owned by businessman Lázaro Báez during the governments of the late Néstor Kirchner (2003-2007) and Fernández in the southern province of Santa Cruz.
Prosecutor Diego Luciani claimed that while she ruled Argentina between 2007 and 2015, Fernández was the head of an illicit association made up of “high-ranking” public officials, for whom the prosecutor also requested various penalties.
“This is probably the biggest corruption maneuver that has ever been known in the country,” said prosecutor Diego Luciani in his final argument.
In addition to requesting that Fernández go to prison for 12 years, Luciani also asked that she be given a lifetime ban from holding public office.
He also requested the confiscation of defendants’’ assets worth billions of pesos.
Fernandez, who testified in 2019, wrote on Twitter that she was “not before a court of the Constitution, but before a media-judicial firing squad.”
She added that through her social media accounts on Tuesday, she will demonstrate “why they are prohibiting me from speaking in the trial after the obscene script that the prosecutors mounted.”
The government released a statement of support for the vice president in the face of “judicial persecution” against her and stated that “none of the acts attributed to the former president have been proven.”
President Alberto Fernández expressed his “deepest affection and solidarity to the vice president.”
Other leaders of the pro-government front, such as Economy Minister Sergio Massa, also questioned the prosecutor’s allegations.
Meanwhile, opposition leaders came out in support of the prosecution, while a group of protesters gathered at the gates of the vice president’s residence in Buenos Aires to celebrate the request for her conviction.
The arguments of the defense will begin on Sep. 5.
Fernández has always defended her innocence and has claimed to be the target of political persecution. EFE