Buenos Aires Hours | Bullrich: Macri to miss ARA San Juan’s illegal spy hearing

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Former President Mauricio Macri will miss a hearing this week in which he was to be questioned about allegations of spying on relatives of 44 sailors who died in the sinking of the ARA San Juan Navy submarine, his party confirmed on Wednesday.

The Cambiemos leader, who ruled Argentina from 2015 to 2019, cannot attend a hearing scheduled for Thursday because he is outside the country to meet “international commitments”, and he will be back at the end of October, said Patricia Bullrich, President of Macri’s. PRO night.

“For this reason, I hope that the judge will understand the situation that has been generated with this imminent summons and that he will keep in mind the permanent vocation of respect and submission to the republican institutions that the former president assumes. Mauricio Macri, “she wrote in a letter to Federal Judge Dolores Martín Bava.

Bava subpoenaed Macri, 62, last week to testify about his role in the alleged espionage. The former president, whose party is part of the opposition Juntos coalition, was in the United States when he was ordered to testify.

The center-right leader is currently in Miami. In an Instagram post on Wednesday, he revealed that he had accepted an offer to teach “political leadership” at the Adam Smith Center for Economic Freedom at Florida International University, an institute headed by Carlos Díaz-Rosillo, former adviser to former US President Donald Trump.

Upon his return to Argentina, the former businessman will again be prohibited from leaving the country at the request of Judge Bava.

In his letter to the court, Bullrich asked the magistrate to avoid “any hasty decision” which could “increase the noise” that the “untimely summons” generated in the media.

Context of the case

ARA San Juan The submarine went missing in November 2017. When it was found a little over a year later, it was at a depth of over 900 meters in a desolate area of ​​the South Atlantic, some 460 meters away. kilometers southeast of the Patagonian town of Comodoro Rivadavia. All 44 crew members died in the tragedy. The submarine had been crashed following an implosion apparently caused by technical failure. The authorities have decided not to attempt to bail him out.

The espionage case began with a criminal complaint from Federal Intelligence Agency (AFI) Director Cristina Caamaño, who uncovered evidence indicating that relatives of the deceased crew had been spied on during the tenure of the Macri administration.

Family members of the sailors told investigators they were followed and bugged, filmed and intimidated into dropping any claims related to the incident.

Macri is accused of ordering, authorizing, organizing and carrying out “the systematic execution of intelligence tasks expressly prohibited by law” between December 2017 and the end of 2018. He could face a prison sentence ranging from three to ten years. he is found. guilty of violating Argentina’s national intelligence law, although in this case aggravating circumstances could also be considered.

Judge Bava also ordered the prosecution of former directors of the Federal Intelligence Agency (AFI) Gustavo Arribas and Silvia Majdalani, who reported to Macri, on charges that they carried out “illegal espionage” on relatives, who were desperate to know the fate of their loved one. those.

Arribas and Majdalani deny the allegations made against them.

In March, two former military leaders were sanctioned for the sinking. Retired Admiral Marcelo Srur was sentenced to “45 days of arrest” for giving the Defense Ministry an “incomplete” picture of what happened.

Claudio Villamide, the former commander of the Submarine Force, was fired after being found guilty of “carelessness and neglect of the troops and equipment for which he was responsible”.

Two active captains were sentenced to 20 and 30 days of detention and the former head of a naval base in the south of the country 15 days.

– TIME / AFP

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