The Prosecutor’s Office is preparing to request a prison sentence against Argentine Vice President Kirchner

The Argentine prosecutor’s office is preparing this Monday to request a prison sentence against Argentine Vice President Cristina Kirchner for alleged corruption when she was president (2007-2015), an accusation that according to her followers constitutes a persecution to disqualify her politically.

Kirchner, who has political immunity for her positions as vice president and president of the Senate, has been on trial since 2019 along with twelve other people in a case in which she is accused of having guided the attribution of public works tenders in the province of Santa Cruz (south), its political cradle, to favor businessman Lázaro Báez.

Prosecutor Sergio Mola opened the ninth and final hearing of the indictment on Monday with a review of the details of the case in which more than a hundred witnesses testified.

In the session, which takes place remotely, Mola considered that the defendants “traced a plan” that sought to defraud the State through “discretion in the use of funds.”

“There were systematic irregularities in 51 tenders over twelve years. The evidence table conclusively demonstrates the illicit maneuvers. It is not credible that Cristina Fernandez (of Kirchner) will not find out anything in the solitude of his office,” the prosecutor asserted in his final argument.

The case also covers the period of the previous government from 2003-07, when her husband Néstor Kirchner, who died in 2010, was president.

– Right to speak –

Kirchner, a 69-year-old lawyer, requested an extension of her investigative statement for Tuesday, arguing that “in open violation of the principle of defense in court, (the prosecutors) mounted issues in her accusation that had never been raised,” according to he wrote on Twitter.

Gregorio Dalbón, one of her lawyers, said that the former president’s request seeks to ensure her “right to legitimate defense in court,” despite the fact that the investigative stage has already ended.

“The prosecutors (Diego) Luciani and Mola are leaving the rule of law and building a media story so that society has common sense and believes that Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner was the head of an illicit association to manage public works,” the lawyer stated.

Previously, Kirchner had requested the disqualification of judges Rodrigo Giménez Uriburu and Jorge Gorini, as well as prosecutor Luciani, but that request was dismissed.

The crimes for which Kirchner is accused – leading an illicit association and defrauding the State – carry a sentence of up to 16 years in prison and political disqualification.

But for the sentence to be carried out, it must be ratified by the Supreme Court of Justice. Therefore, even if she is convicted, Kirchner would remain free and she could be a candidate in the presidential and legislative elections of 2023.

After the prosecution’s accusation is closed, the defense has 10 business days to start exposing their defense for the 13 defendants, which may take several months. The verdict is expected to be known by the end of the year.

– “Chase” –

In the midst of political polarization and before the electoral process next year, various center-left Peronist groups, close to the vice president, denounce persecution.

On Sunday, a public letter signed by more than half a thousand mayors supported Kirchner, whom they considered “the victim of judicial persecution.” Deputies from the ruling party Frente de Todos, and other political and cultural leaders also released statements of support.

Hebe de Bonafini, leader of the human rights defense organization Madres de Plaza de Mayo, called for demonstrations.

“We cannot allow Cristina to be convicted or to go to jail. We have to make a town, it is the only thing that is going to save her. We have to defend her with everything,” he asserted last week.

The vice president has been dismissed in several cases for alleged crimes that occurred in her two presidential periods, but she still faces five trials.

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