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Argentine prosecutor wants 12 years in prison for VP Kirchner in transplant trial

#Argentine #prosecutor #years #prison #Kirchner #transplant #trial

Argentine prosecutors on Monday requested that Vice President Cristina Kirchner be sentenced to 12 years in prison and impeachment for alleged corruption during her two terms as president.

Kirchner, 69, is accused of fraudulently awarding public works contracts in her fief in Patagonia, but even if convicted, she would not face jail as long as she enjoys parliamentary immunity as a senator-elect.

A verdict is expected by the end of the year.

There are two ways she could lose her parliamentary immunity: either by losing her Senate seat in the next election, or if the Supreme Court were to uphold an eventual guilty verdict.

Minutes after prosecutor Diego Luciani’s request was released, President Alberto Fernandez’s office released a statement condemning the “judicial and media persecution” of Kirchner.

“None of the actions attributed to the ex-President have been proven and the entire allegation is based solely on the function she performed at the time, which sadly belittles the most fundamental principles of modern criminal law.”

Twelve other people are also accused of being involved in illegally awarding public works contracts in the southern province of Santa Cruz for the benefit of businessman Lazaro Baez.

The period examined includes Kirchner’s eight-year tenure from 2007 to 2015 and the previous four years when her husband Nestor Kirchner, who died in 2010, was president.

Luciani suggested “an authentic system of institutional corruption,” while Sergio Mola, another prosecutor, said “there were systematic irregularities in tenders over a 12-year period.”

“The evidence clearly shows illegal maneuvers,” added Mola, who said the defendants tried to defraud the state through “discretion in the use of funds.”

Kirchner is very divisive but still popular with the left. She has long maintained her innocence and accused prosecutors of political persecution and “lawfare” – the use of legal systems or institutions to discredit an opponent.

They have been investigated in a dozen different cases over the past few years for crimes such as bribery, money laundering, speculative damage to the state and obstruction of justice.

Some of them have been dismissed, but five remain active.

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