The Slatest

Argentine Judge Rules That Criminal Investigation Into the President Is Unwarranted

President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.

Photo by DANIEL GARCIA/AFP/Getty Images

Judge Daniel Rafecas of Argentina dismissed a criminal complaint against President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner on Thursday, the latest—though likely not the last—development in an ongoing legal saga that has captivated the country. Prosecutor Alberto Nisman brought the initial allegations, which claimed that Kirchner had helped to shield Iranian officials involved in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center that killed 85 people. But Nisman’s colleagues were forced to carry on Nisman’s work after the prosecutor was found dead of a shotgun wound in his apartment, with no witnesses, no suicide note, and no clear motivation.

Nisman’s death spurred rumors of a government conspiracy to silence the prosecutor, who uncovered phone transcripts said to reveal a secret deal between Iran and Argentina. According to Nisman’s allegations, Kirchner’s administration helped keep Iran’s involvement in the bombing secret in exchange for low-cost oil. Kirchner herself has proposed an alternative conspiracy: She believes Nisman was assassinated by rogue spies, and has moved to dissolve the country’s intelligence service. (At other points, Kirchner has also implied that Nisman’s aide killed him, linking the aide to a media group critical of her government.)

Prosecutors have not yet announced whether they will appeal Thursday’s ruling.