Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s lawyers have asked the Federal Cassation Court to annul all charges against her in the Vialidad case, which include a six-year prison sentence and a prospective lifetime ban from holding public office.
“Absolutely legitimate acts of governance by three constitutional and popularly elected governments […] are being presented as criminal,” said lawyers, Carlos Beraldi and Ary Llernovoy, in a 394-page appeals request.
The formal request claimed that the ruling was “based on absolutely arbitrary considerations” and held an “enormous institutional gravity”.
The Vialidad ruling was announced in December 2022, in which she was found guilty of fraudulently awarding public works contracts during her terms as president. She is still legally allowed to run for office until all instances of appeal have been exhausted.
Beraldi and Llernovoy spoke of several violations committed during the judicial process, such as the lack of “objectivity” of the prosecution, the violation of the right to defense (by not accepting evidence provided by the defense team) and the violation of the “principle of innocence”.
On the other hand, the prosecutor in the case, Diego Luciani, requested that her sentence be increased and that she also be sentenced for the crime of illicit association, a charge that had been ruled out by the Federal Oral Court 2.
Kirchner’s lawyers said that, if necessary, they will appeal “before the Supreme Court of justice of the nation, as well as before the competent international human rights bodies through the appropriate channels”.
This request was made three days before Kirchner is set to speak in public on Thursday, April 27. Following the Vialidad ruling last year, she announced that she would not run in this year’s presidential election.
Despite that public decision, there have been continuous calls from her supporters and prominent politicians for that potential ban to be lifted for her to run — Buenos Aires province Governor Axel Kicillof spoke at a protest against the Supreme Court last week calling for the end of Argentina’s “judicial mafia” responsible for the ruling.
There are high expectations that she will talk about her eventual candidacy on Thursday.