Former president Macri was prosecuted for alleged espionage 3:56
(CNN Spanish) -
(CNN Spanish) -
Former Argentine President Mauricio Macri on Wednesday described the judge who issued his prosecution for the alleged illegal espionage of relatives of the 44 killed in the sinking of the ARA San Juan submarine as "absolutely partial", and said that he knew that "this political persecution was going to end in this prosecution, so nothing new."
Macri, who was in Santiago, Chile, during a visit by President Sebastián Piñera, confirmed in statements he made to CNN Chile that he will comply with the embargo equivalent to US $ 1 million imposed on him by federal judge Martín Bava when ordering his prosecution in this cause.
"We will comply until we appeal," he said.
Judge Bava ordered Macri's trial without preventive detention on Tuesday and, in addition to the embargo, imposed a ban on him from leaving the country.
The judge's decision was known on Wednesday, while Macri was in Chile.
📻 CNN Radio Argentina: Macri prosecuted: "This case is promoted by the judge and not the prosecutor; it is against nature"
Macri was prosecuted for the alleged crimes of abuse of authority and carrying out intelligence tasks prohibited by Argentine law, something that, according to the judge, the accused made possible "from his role as President," according to the judge.
The submarine ARA San Juan sank due to damage while it was at sea in November 2017, while it was moving from Ushuaia, in Tierra del Fuego, to Mar del Plata, in the south of the province of Buenos Aires.
According to the magistrate, these acts of espionage would have involved the monitoring and infiltration of agents of the Federal Intelligence Agency (AFI) in groups of relatives of the crew of the sunken submarine, between December 2017 and the end of 2018.
Relatives and friends of the seafarers who died on the high seas were then organizing protest actions and claims against the then government of Macri, with the aim of demanding the clarification of the causes of the sinking of the ARA San Juan and the timely search for the submarine to save their crew members.
The ship remained missing for a year and two days until it was found, according to the ruling, and the magnitude of the case was such that the United States, Russia, Germany, among other countries, offered their services and their best technology to collaborate with the discovery. and rescue the crew, consisting of 43 men and one woman.
In Argentina, a bicameral commission was even created in Congress to search for the ARA San Juan.
Judge Bava also held that the alleged illegal intelligence activities also reached relatives of the crew of the wrecked fishing vessels Rigel and El Repunte, who also organized to claim the government for their crew members.
The accusation and defense of Macri
A defense source explained to CNN that Macri denied the accusations before Judge Bava.
Among other points, the defense of the former president questions the alleged lack of evidence in the file to maintain that Macri knew about these tasks of alleged illegal espionage, and that he had contact with the reports and records of the agents of the state intelligence agency.
But, according to judge Bava, "they leave no room for another interpretation."
In his ruling, Bava argued that Macri, being the direct head of the then heads of the AFI and responsible for the design of the State's intelligence policy, could not ignore these activities of the official agents and “created conditions, accumulated information , made use of and did not order the cessation of carrying out intelligence tasks explicitly prohibited by law ”in Argentina, such as the monitoring of people for their political affiliation, their opinions and demonstrations, and the social organization to which they belong.
According to the prosecution, these tasks involved "obtaining personal data and information from relatives and close friends of the crew of the ARA San Juan" for the claims they would make ";
State intelligence agents sought "to know their activities, the places where they were gathered, their personal data and those of their environment, such as the identification of their referents and the claims they would make."
Among the documentary evidence, the judge included in his ruling the photographic records of the meetings, masses, public demonstrations and follow-ups of the relatives, taken by members of the intelligence agency, accompanied by written reports on future activities, purposes and actions. of organized family members.
These digital documents were found in one of the agency's headquarters by the current AFI inspector, Cristina Caamano, who handed over the files to the Justice.
"It is illegal for the AFI to have spied on and investigated those whom the National State had the obligation to contain, accompany and provide justice," the judge said.
According to the ruling, these reports were produced for Macri's consumption and with the aim of "safeguarding the image of the national government vis-à-vis society," two points that Macri raised in his inquiry that were not true and that also did not they were proven in the record.
The judge cited documents prepared by members of the intelligence agency prior to the meeting that Macri held with a delegation of relatives in February 2018, in which they “advanced”, in the words of the magistrate, the specific claims that the then president would receive;
or the case of the content of a letter from the mother of an ARA San Juan crew member, addressed to the then president, which an AFI agent advanced in a report before it was delivered, according to the ruling.
In this case, the judge had already prosecuted former AFI chiefs for the same alleged crimes during Macri's administration, Gustavo Arribas and Silvia Majdalani, among other members of the official body.
The former authorities acknowledged the investigated activities, but defended their alleged legality, claiming that said tasks and follow-ups had been carried out to guarantee presidential security, in the framework of a meeting that Macri held with a group of relatives and due to the visits of the then president to the areas where family members congregated, among other arguments rejected by the judge.
Macri, meanwhile, denied knowing the existence of the follow-ups and other tasks in his written defense presented during the investigation, a defense source explained to CNN.
In addition to rejecting the accusations, Macri's lawyers maintain that the investigation and the judge would have “political motivations”, that the magistrate is “partial” and that the case would present irregularities.
It also maintains that Bava does not have jurisdiction to investigate the case, since he is a federal judge in the town of Dolores and the acts of alleged illegal espionage would have occurred in Mar del Plata, while the orders would have been issued from the City of Buenos Aires, where both the AFI headquarters and the Casa Rosada, the seat of government, are located.
Macri only testified on October 28, after the third summons by the judge, after two unsuccessful attempts.
The former president did not succeed in having Judge Bava removed from the case by the Federal Chamber of Mar del Plata, the appeals court that intervenes in this case, but he will go to the Federal Chamber of Cassation, the country's highest criminal court, to insist with the dismissal of the magistrate for his alleged partiality and alleged irregularities in the case, a source in his defense told CNN.
His lawyers will also be able to appeal Wednesday's prosecution and the rest of the measures against him.
With information from CNN Chile and Rubén Correa
With information from CNN Chile and Rubén Correa