Judge lifts arrest warrant for Argentine human rights leader

AP News
|
Posted: Aug 05, 2016 6:59 PM
Judge lifts arrest warrant for Argentine human rights leader

BUENOS AIRES (AP) — An Argentine judge lifted an arrest warrant Friday for the 87-year-old president of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo human rights group in a highly politicized embezzlement case.

The investigating magistrate had ordered Hebe de Bonafini's arrest on Thursday. But hundreds of supporters massed outside the group's offices to prevent police from removing her. The judge agreed Friday to allow her to be questioned without being jailed. A date was not set.

De Bonafini had twice refused to submit to questioning in a case involving the alleged diversion of nearly $14 million in public funds earmarked for a low-incoming housing project registered under the Mothers' name.

De Bonafini says the group's two legal representatives are to blame. She claims she is a victim of political persecution by Argentina's new president, Mauricio Macri.

But the magistrate, Marcelo Martinez De Giorgi, has told reporters that while his investigation is focusing on a number of current and former officials De Bonafini must explain a contract she supposedly signed authorizing payments for construction workers who never got paid.

The mother of two youths disappeared during Argentina's 1976-83 military dictatorship, de Bonafini is a close ally of former President Cristina Fernandez, who governed from 2007-2015.

.