Argentina: Attacker and girlfriend ‘planned’ attempted hit on VP Kirchner, judge says

The loaded gun had failed to fire, when she was accosted, point blank



Photo: AP
Photo: AP

By AFP

Published: Thu 8 Sep 2022, 7:21 AM

Last updated: Thu 8 Sep 2022, 10:55 AM

The man accused of trying to shoot Argentine Vice President Cristina Kirchner had planned the attack with his girlfriend, the judge in charge of the investigation said on Wednesday night, according to news reports.

The alleged shooter in the attack (at point blank range) last week, Fernando Sabag Montiel, and his girlfriend, Brenda Uliarte — both of whom are in custody — are accused of trying to assassinate Kirchner "with planning and prior agreement", Judge Maria Eugenia Capuchetti said in an indictment of the two, according to the Telam news agency.

Kirchner, the 69-year-old former president and current Vice President, survived the assassination attempt as she mingled with supporters outside her home last Thursday night, when a gun brandished by Sabag Montiel failed to fire.

He was taken into custody on the spot, and a video of the incident quickly spread online.

The charges seen by the media on Wednesday are preliminary and can still be modified, but they mark the first official charge that the attack on Kirchner was premeditated.

Tens of thousands of Argentines took to the streets after the shooting attempt.

Sabag Montiel, 35, a Brazilian national who has been living in Argentina since his youth, has not told investigators what his motivations were.

In photos on his Instagram account, he appears to bear numerous tattoos. Some — like one of a black sun and another resembling the Iron Cross — are associated with Nazi symbolism, though no signs of radicalisation have so far been proven.

Ulliarte, his 23-year-old companion, was arrested in a Buenos Aires train station on Sunday night.

Following the attack, she said in television interviews that she had not seen Sabag Montiel for two days, but analysis of video surveillance images has since shown that they were both at the scene of the attack that evening, according to judicial sources cited by the media.

The indictment of Wednesday night, according to reports, says that Uliarte "was present in the vicinity of the place where they arrived together, and it was determined that they were in possession of the seized firearm with its ammunition, from an earlier date; at least since August 5".

The Argentine Vice President, who is currently on trial for corruption and accused of accepting bribes in her Patagonian stronghold, was greeting supporters outside her Buenos Aires home when Sabag Montiel, standing amid the crowd, pointed a gun directly at her head.

For reasons yet unknown, the weapon did not go off, despite being loaded and the trigger being pulled.

Messages of support for Kirchner and condemnation of the attack have poured in from the Pope, the UN, the United States, and Latin American leaders.

Sabag Montiel has previously been arrested on March 17, 2021, for carrying a knife, but the case was later closed.

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