Friday, May 24, 2024

ARGENTINA | 13-09-2022 21:19

Third person arrested in Fernández de Kirchner assassination probe

Investigation into failed shooting attack on Vice-President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner takes another turn as a third individual – named in local media as Agustina Díaz, a friend of the assailant's partner Brenda Uliarte – is taken into custody by police.

A third person was arrested on Tuesday as part of the investigation into the failed assassination attempt against Vice-President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.

A woman, identified in local media as Agustina Díaz, was detained in San Miguel, Greater Buenos Aires, where police have launched several operations in recent days, the Télam state news agency confirmed in an article, citing unnamed judicial sources.

Local news agencies said the woman had been arrested by Airport Security Police officers (PSA), though were unable to provide any additional information.

The man accused of trying to shoot Fernández de Kirchner, 35-year-old Fernando Sabag Montiel, and his girlfriend Brenda Uliarte, 23, were previously arrested.

According to Télam, Díaz had allegedly been in contact with Uliarte both before and after the failed attack at the beginning of the month. Local outlets described her as a close friend of Uliarte, describing their relationship as one of “extreme confidence.

Prosecutors have formally accused Sabag Montiel and Uliarte of having tried to assassinate the vice-president "with planning and prior agreement."

Sabag Montiel, whose motivation remains unknown, was arrested on September 1, the night of the alleged assassination attempt, just moments after pointing a gun at the vice-president's head. The weapon he used did not fire, though the assailant did pull the trigger.

Authorities have yet to explain how or why the loaded gun did not fire, although apparently there was no bullet in the chamber.

The 35-year-old Brazilian national had blended into a crowd of people who were waiting outside the former president's apartment building in the wealthy Buenos Aires neighbourhood of Recoleta.

Supporters have held a vigil outside the Frente de Todos leader’s apartment ever since prosecutors in a trial probing alleged corruption related to public works projects in the province of Santa Cruz asked for Fernández de Kirchner to be handed a 12-year prison sentence and a lifetime ban from holding political office if found guilty.

Uliarte was arrested three days later at a train station in Buenos Aires.

Video surveillance footage has revealed the couple were at the crime scene when the alleged assassination attempt took place and visited the area in the preceding days. Uliarte left the scene moments after her boyfriend’s arrest

Reports on Tuesday, citing information on mobile phones, claimed that the duo had even explored the possibility of renting a property close to Fernández de Kirchner’s apartment.

Their mobile phones also contained pictures of them posing with the Bersa .32-calibre pistol used in the failed shooting attack.

According to the judicial sources cited by Télam, the third suspect had been communicating with Uliarte about a potential attack for at least a month.

After analysing seized mobile phones, investigators now believe that the original plan was to attack Fernández de Kirchner on August 27, several days before the actual assassination attempt took place. 

The assailants aborted that plan and in an incriminating text message – sent by Sabag Montiel to Uliarte and published by Télam – the attacker indicated that the optimum moment to strike had passed.

“She's upstairs but I don't think she'll come out, so she's gone, leave it, I'm going there, stay there. Don't bring anything,” he wrote to his girlfriend.

Sabag Montiel has refused to answer questions from the judge overseeing the case, limiting himself only to a statement denying that Uliarte played a role in the attack – a line that investigators believe to be patently untrue.

Security Minister Anibal Fernández said Tuesday that security had been increased around Fernández de Kirchner following a death threat made against her on the national emergency services line.

"Yesterday [Monday] there was a message through 911. They seem like trivial things, but there are no trivial things, it is serious, everything has to be investigated," Fernández told reporters.

The minister added that Fernández de Kirchner is “a strong woman” who is “not afraid” of threats to her life.



related news


More in (in spanish)