Argentina's Kirchner says arrest order violates law


Buenos Aires (AFP)

Argentina's ex-president Cristina Kirchner lashed out Thursday at a judge's order seeking her arrest as "an excess that violates the rule of law."

Kirchner, 64, held a press conference in Buenos Aires to hit back at charges from Judge Claudio Bonadio, who ordered her arrest for treason for allegedly covering up Iran's involvement in a deadly 1994 bombing of a Jewish center in Buenos Aires.

Bonadio also called on the Senate to begin procedures to strip her of her parliamentary immunity, which requires a two-thirds majority.

Kirchner, who has long claimed her legal woes are politically motivated, accused center-right President Mauricio Macri of "manipulating" the justice system to discredit her.

Kirchner, who stepped down after two terms in 2015, won a Senate seat in elections in October, giving her immunity in a slew of corruption cases stemming from the 12 years she dominated Argentina's politics with her late husband Nestor.

The former president is accused of a cover-up by signing a 2012 deal with Tehran to allow Iranian officials suspected of ordering the attack on the Jewish center -- which killed 85 people and wounded 300 -- to be investigated in their own country, rather than in Argentina.

Bonadio asserts that this was part of "an orchestrated criminal plan" to cover up the alleged involvement of Iranian officials in return for lucrative trade deals with the Islamic Republic.