The Argentine justice system announced on Tuesday the conviction of the vice president Cristina Kirchner in a case for alleged corruption when she was president (2007-2015) and whose verdict has a strong political impact in the country. A court sentenced her to six years in prison and perpetual disqualification from holding public office.
(Context: Cristina Kirchner: sentenced to 6 years in prison for corruption in Argentina)
However, the Argentine newspaper The nation He explained on his website that, for the moment, Kirchner will not go to jail and may be a candidate in the next elections, “since the sentence remains final and applies when the judicial review instances have been exhausted.”
The sentence was read at a hearing at 5:30 p.m. local time (3:30 p.m. Bogotá time) that the defendants followed by videoconference by order of the court, according to a judicial source. Even if she is convicted, Kirchner will not go to prison for having privileges.
This is a first instance ruling that allows for a long course of appeals that can last several years before being final.
The sentence has a strong political impact. But the possibility of her being arrested for this sentence is non-existent
The truth is that “the sentence has a strong political impact,” analyst Rosendo Fraga told AFP, but “the possibility of her being arrested for this sentence is non-existent.”
In 2023 general elections will be held in Argentina for which Kirchner may run for any position.
Doomed ‘in advance’
Since the start of the trial, in 2019, the 69-year-old ex-president maintained that her sentence “is written in advance” by denouncing that it is “a political trial” that seeks to lecture all Peronism.
“The sentence was written on December 2, 2019, the first time I testified in this trial. For very simple reasons. First: all my constitutional guarantees were violated. Second: everything said is a lie,” he said.
Kirchner is accused, along with 12 other people, for the allegedly irregular awarding of public works contracts in the province of Santa Cruz (south) during her two terms as president.
The prosecution requested 12 years in prison for her, considering her “head of an illegal association” and also political disqualification from holding public office.
Kirchner said that beyond a conviction, he will continue in politics. “I will never give up my opinion and say what I think needs to be done to go out and build a better country for our people,” he warned.
In his final words before the court, Kirchner accused the judges of having “invented and misrepresented” the facts. The defense also questions the criminal figure of illicit association on which the prosecution built its accusation.
One possibility is that the court frames his sentence under the figure of fraud, for which the maximum penalty was reduced to 6 years in prison. In both cases, the penalty of perpetual disqualification from holding public office is applicable.
Before the verdict was known, the analyst Rosendo Fraga already considered that whatever the verdict, the impact is strong. “Cristina’s strategy is going to be to deepen her theory of “lawfare”, which consists of denouncing adverse rulings in corruption cases as a political maneuver to prevent her candidacy, making the analogy with what happened with Lula in Brazil four years ago. “he told AFP.
Cristina’s strategy will be to deepen her theory of lawfare, which consists of denouncing adverse rulings in corruption cases as a political maneuver to prevent her candidacy.
In any case, “it will seek demonstrations of support from the region’s progressive leaders, beginning with the Brazilian.”
On the other hand, the fact that an eventual conviction is not accompanied by imprisonment “will be a disappointment for the anti-Kirchner sectors,” Fraga pointed out.
“It is probable that she, if she does not present herself as a candidate for the presidency, will do so for the Senate of the province of Buenos Aires, with which she would have jurisdiction until December 10, 2029,” he said.
Demonstrations in support of Cristina
Supporters of the Argentine vice president mobilized this Tuesday to the courts where the verdict was read in the case in which she is accused along with 12 other accused of alleged corruption in her two terms as president (2007-2015).
Although the ex-president’s entourage did not call for a massive mobilization, the federal forces reinforced security in Congress, since the vice president is the leader of the Senate, and in the courts, according to sources from the Buenos Aires Ministry of Security.
The Miles party and the Tierra Vivienda y Hábitat Federation led this morning a mobilization to the courts where the judges are who will pass sentence with the slogan of stopping “the coup” and freeing Cristina Fernández.
The leader of the call, Luis D’Elía, called for today to be “a new October 17”, in reference to that of 1945, when Juan Domingo Perón was released after being detained by military opponents after thousands of workers mobilized to demand his release.
Meanwhile, the Buenos Aires delegation of the State Workers Association plans to hold a vigil to await the verdict and, in the face of a conviction, mobilize and declare an active strike guaranteeing all essential services.
ANA MARIA RODRIGUEZ
*With information from AFP and EFE
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