Argentine VP blames corruption trial for assassination attempt
Argentina vice president Cristina Kirchner

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina, (AFP) - Argentina vice president Cristina Kirchner on Friday blamed what she implied was a hostile environment created by her ongoing corruption trial for an assassination attempt against her earlier this month.

Kirchner is among 13 people accused of fraud and corruption that occurred during her two terms as president as well as her late husband Nestor's term.

On September 1, Kirchner, 69, survived an assassination attempt as she mingled with supporters outside her home, when a gun brandished by a man in the crowd failed to fire.

Speaking by video link at her trial Kirchner said that before the attack she thought the procedure, which opened in August, was to "stigmatise" her "and to bar me" from politics.

The case involves bribes alleged to have been paid in her Patagonian political stronghold.

"But after September 1," she said "I realized there could be something more."

Kirchner, who is also implicated in several other corruption investigations, has always claimed to be the victim of political persecution.

"This is creating an environment," she added. "I feel very vulnerable, worried."

Four people have been arrested over the assassination attempt but only the 35-year-old man who pointed the gun and his 23-year-old girlfriend have been officially charged with aggravated attempted murder.

During her deposition, Kirchner said "no one could believe this gang came up with and planned this attack" alone, without explicitly pointing the finger at anyone in particular.

The attack has proved fertile breeding ground for Argentina's polarized politics.

Those on the center-left government's side have insisted the four young people must have been financed and directed by others, while liberal former president Mauricio Macri has dismissed any "political orchestration."

As for her own trial, Kirchner accused prosecutors, who have requested she be jailed for 12 years and banned from politics for life, of "lies, slander and defamation."

A verdict is due at the end of the year.

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