Opposition leader accused in Buenos Aires bombing cover-up freed


Buenos Aires (AFP)

Argentine opposition leader Carlos Zannini was freed from prison Saturday, where he was detained over his suspected role in covering up a 1984 bombing at a Jewish center allegedly carried out by Iran, a prosecutor confirmed.

Zannini was arrested as part of an investigation into former president Cristina Kirchner and her role in signing a 2012 pact with Iran, which said that officials suspected of involvement in the bombing could be investigated in their own country and not brought to Argentina.

At a press conference upon leaving prison in Ezeiza, 20 kilometers south of Buenos Aires, Zannini -- a key figure in the Peronist governments of former presidents Nestor and Cristina Kirchner (2003-2015) -- said he was a "political prisoner."

He also accused the government of fabricating the case -- which has seen a judge call for the imprisonment of Kirchner, a current senator.

Gabriela Baigun, the prosecutor who secured Zannini's release along with that of community leader Luis D'Elia, told radio Mitre Saturday that the releases may not prove popular, "the law states that under certain conditions, which these two people meet, they have the right, and in fact the obligation, to be free."

A court will try Kirchner and around 20 others, including Zannini, D'Elia and former foreign minister Hector Timerman, at a hearing not yet set.

Argentina accuses Iran's late former president Ali Rafsanjani and his government of organizing the bombing against a Buenos Aires Jewish center which killed 85 and injured 300.