Hebe de Bonafini: Head of Argentina Mothers of Plaza de Mayo group indicted

A judge in Argentina has indicted the head of human rights organisation the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo.

Hebe de Bonafini, 88, has been charged with misusing public funds allocated to a social housing project.

The programme, created by former President Cristina Fernández, was managed by Mrs De Bonafini’s foundation, a world-famous collective of mothers looking for children who disappeared during the dictatorship.

She maintains her innocence.

As a close ally of the ex-president, she says the case against her is politically motivated and orchestrated by current President Mauricio Macri, who came into power in 2015.

“Thank you Macri for giving me the honour of being accused,” she said sarcastically on Monday.

Prosecutors allege that about $13m (£10m) of public funding in the Shared Dreams programme was diverted inappropriately.

Her former aide, Sergio Schoklender, will also be investigated, according to local media.

Mrs De Bonafini has previously refused to appear in court to give evidence.

The movement of the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo is highly lauded in Argentina for its human rights work.

It emerged when a military junta ruled the country (1976 -1983) and a group of women paraded around the central square in Buenos Aires to draw attention to their missing children.

Its a tradition they keep, every Thursday, to this day.

Mrs Bonafini has two sons who were “disappeared” by the military government.

The mothers group has previously said they wanted to do some of the work their children, who were mostly left-wing activists, would have ended up doing if they were alive.

The $53m Shared Dreams programme was devised to build housing, schools and health centres in low-income neighbourhoods. It was abruptly halted in 2011.

Investigations then revealed that Mr Schoklender was the major shareholder in Meldorek, the construction company used by the Mothers.

 

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