Attacker and girlfriend 'planned' attempted hit on Argentine VP

Attacker and girlfriend 'planned' attempted hit on Argentine VP

The alleged attempted shooter, 35-year-old Fernando Sabag Montiel was immediately taken into custody after his gun failed to fire, even though it was loaded and the trigger pulled
The alleged attempted shooter, 35-year-old Fernando Sabag Montiel was immediately taken into custody after his gun failed to fire, even though it was loaded and the trigger pulled. Photo: Handout / PSA/AFP
Source: AFP

The man accused of trying to shoot Argentine Vice President Cristina Kirchner last week planned the attack with his girlfriend, according to preliminary charges filed by a judge, local media reported Wednesday.

The alleged shooter in the attack at point blank range, Fernando Sabag Montiel, and his girlfriend, Brenda Uliarte, both 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 video of the incident quickly spread online.

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

Kirchner enjoys a loyal support base among followers of the center-left Peronist movement inherited from former president Juan Peron. But she is disliked in equal measure by the political opposition.

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

Girlfriend near crime scene

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

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

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.

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The indictment seen 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."

Kirchner, 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, United States and Latin American leaders.

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

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 radicalization have so far been proven.

Source: AFP

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