Assassination attempt on Argentina’s Vice-President fails

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An assassination attempt on Argentina’s Vice-President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner failed after a gunman’s weapon jammed as he aimed at her.

Ms. De Kirchner was greeting supporters outside her home when a man emerged from the crowd and pointed a handgun in her face.

President Alberto Fernandez said the gun was loaded with five bullets but failed to fire when triggered.

Addressing the nation late on Thursday night, Mr. Fernandez condemned the attacker and said the attempt on Ms. De Kirchner’s life was one of the “most serious” incidents since the country returned to democracy in 1983.

“We can disagree, we can have deep disagreements, but hate speech cannot take place because it breeds violence and there is no chance of violence coexisting with democracy,” Mr. Fernandez said.

He also declared a national holiday on Friday to allow Argentines time to “express themselves in defense of life, democracy and in solidarity with our vice president”.

Police said the shooter, who local media identified as a 35-year-old Brazilian man, has been taken into custody. They are attempting to establish a motive for the attack.

Footage shared on local media showed the man aiming a gun inches away from her head and appearing to attempt a shot. She then lowers her head but no shots were fired.

Argentina’s economy minister, Sergio Massa, called the attempted shooting an “attempted assassination”.

 “When hate and violence prevail over debate, societies are destroyed and situations like these arise: attempted assassination,” he said in a tweet.

Corruption trial 

Ms. De Kirchner is in the midst of a corruption trial and was returning from court. She denies the charges.

She is accused of defrauding the state and being involved in a scheme to divert public funds while she was president between 2007 and 2015.

Also Read:  Argentina: Protesters, police clash near vice-president’s home

In recent days, hundreds of protesters have gathered in support outside the 69-year-old’s home in the capital while the trial is underway.

If convicted at trial, prosecutors have asked that the ex-president face 12 years in prison and a lifetime ban from politics.

However, Ms de Kirchner is the Senate president and so enjoys parliamentary immunity.

She would not be imprisoned unless her sentence was ratified by the country’s Supreme Court, or she loses her Senate seat at the next elections at the end of 2023.


Zainab Sa’id

Source BBC
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