Fernández de Kirchner: Man and girlfriend 'planned' Argentina VP attack

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A screen grab from a video shows Brenda Uliarte, girlfriend of Fernando Andres Sabag Montiel, while she is being detained by police, in Buenos Aires, Argentina September 4, 2022.Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
Brenda Uliarte was detained on Sunday

A judge in Argentina has charged a man and his girlfriend with attempting to kill Vice-President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner last week.

Fernando Sabag Montiel, 35, and his girlfriend Brenda Uliarte, 23, deny involvement in the failed attack, when a gun was pointed at the politician.

The gunman's weapon jammed and the vice-president was not hurt in the incident in the capital Buenos Aires.

But a judge said the actions of the two suspects were planned and co-ordinated.

The charges are preliminary and can still be modified.

The incident happened on Thursday 2 September as Ms Fernández de Kirchner, 69, greeted supporters outside her home.

A small crowd had gathered to show its backing for the vice-president, who is currently on trial for corruption, when a man pointed a handgun at her head.

The moment was captured on video.

Media caption,

Gun jams as it's aimed at Argentina's vice-president

The gun did not fire, but Argentina's President, Alberto Fernández, later said it had been loaded with five bullets. "Cristina is still alive because, for some reason yet to be confirmed, the gun ... did not fire," he said in a televised address.

President Fernández described it as "the most serious incident since the return of democracy" in 1983.

Fernando Sabag Montiel, who was born in Brazil but has lived in Argentina since he was a child, was arrested at the scene minutes after the incident.

Lawyers for Ms Fernández de Kirchner said they did not think he had acted on his own and on Sunday police detained Fernando Sabag Montiel's girlfriend, Brenda Uliarte.

Mr Sabag Montiel reportedly told investigators that "Brenda had nothing to do with it and nor did I".

But on Wednesday, Judge María Eugenia Capuchetti accused Ms Uliarte and Mr Sabag Montiel of "having attempted to kill" the vice-president.

Argentine media report that the indictment alleges that the two suspects had been in possession of the firearm which was seized at the scene of the attack since 5 August.

Investigators are still trying to establish the motive behind the attack on Ms Fernández de Kirchner, a left-wing politician who, while immensely popular with her supporters, has alienated many during her years as one of Argentina's most influential politicians.

Before she became vice-president in 2019, she served as Argentina's president from 2007 to 2015 and as first lady from 2003 to 2007.