An Argentine judge dismissed the case against President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner alleging she helped cover up Iran’s role in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center, Argentine news sources reported Thursday. The charges were initially brought by prosecutor Alberto Nisman, whose mysterious death last month triggered widespread protests and one of the biggest political scandals Argentina has seen in years.
In a lengthy ruling issued Thursday, Judge Daniel Rafecas said there was not sufficient evidence to open a criminal investigation against the president, according to Argentine newspaper La Nación.
Nisman had spent several years building his case against Kirchner, Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman and a number of their political allies. Citing wiretapped conversations between high-level officials, Nisman argued that Argentine and Iranian officials colluded to grant immunity to Iranians charged with planning the 1994 bombing, the worst terrorist attack in Argentina’s history.
Nisman was found dead from a gunshot wound in his head in January, a day before he was due to present the allegations before another Argentine judge, setting off a firestorm of speculation over how he might have died. Early theories suggested it may have been a suicide, as Nisman was found with a gun and shell casing beside his body, but polls have shown that most Argentines discount that explanation. Kirchner initially said she believed it was a suicide, but later said Nisman may have been used as a pawn by other individuals looking to destabilize her government.
Prosecutor Gerardo Pollicita resubmitted Nisman’s charges after his death, but Thursday’s ruling means there will be no criminal investigation of the president for these allegations. La Nación noted that Pollicita may still appeal the decision, however.
But the case still has set off a wave of tumult for Kirchner’s government as questions have mounted around the 1994 case and a cast of characters suspected of being involved in Nisman’s death. On Wednesday Argentina’s legislature voted to dissolve the intelligence agency, following Kirchner’s accusations that a rogue agent may have fed Nisman false information for his case in an effort to undermine the federal government.