Federal Judge of Lomas de Zamora, Argentina, Federico Villena, granted the request of the United States to seize the Emtrasure jumbo aircraft that entered Argentina on June 6.
The ruling implies ratification of the US blockade on the aircraft, within the framework of the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty between the two countries.
The decision came after prosecutor Cecilia Incardona supported the request of the United States Department of Justice, which claims the hijacking and subsequent seizure of the plane.
The definition of Argentine justice in Washington’s favor comes amid harsh interrogation of Argentina by Venezuelan government officials. As with extradition, beyond judicial resolution, there will be a new chapter in the history of the aircraft: Casa Rosada will have the last word.
Although the details of the resolution are confidential, in accordance with the requirements of the treaty with the United States, sources in the case assured Pezina/12 that the aircraft would be confiscated at a joint settlement of the local and Colombian courts. The magistrate was to decide whether the requirements of the treaty signed in a timely manner between the two countries were met, for which he accepted the request for confiscation.
The United States Ministry of Justice determined – based on a judicial order issued on July 19 by the Court of the District of Columbia – that a Venezuelan-flagged aircraft could be confiscated for violating its export control rules. These rules establish that the US Department of Commerce has the power to impose restrictions and barricades on all unauthorized activity. In this case, the aircraft was originally built on American soil, then sold to Air France, and later to the Mahan Air airline of Iran. Since 2008, the Iranian company has been banned by the US government for its export-related transactions due to alleged links with terrorist groups. Within this blockade is the plane that currently resides in Buenos Aires, which was purchased by the Venezuelan state company Conavisa.
According to 1991 Law 24,034, Argentina and the United States signed a mutual aid treaty, which means, in effect, cooperation in judicial matters between the two states. In this context, the US government demands that the Argentine order the effective seizure of the aircraft. The Argentine government accepted the request and sent it to Justice. According to sources in the file, the government could have delayed the request for justice or not sent it, but it did so because the guarantees are one reason Venezuela criticizes the executive.
The offense that the United States calls is re-export, that is, a violation of laws that do not exist for Argentine rules, the judges can comply with, protected by the treaty.
The resolution, however, does not affect the procedural status of the aircraft’s crew members, who are still awaiting the definition of the Argentine justice, within the framework of the case which investigates whether the crew “acts of any kind”. or was linked to terrorist groups or well if they flew and landed in our country for some criminal purpose,” according to the prosecution.
This Wednesday, Pedro Carreo, the president of the National Assembly of Venezuela, demanded that the Argentine government return the plane and release the crew, noting that the investigation was nothing more than a “false positive”. These criticisms prompted the Attorney General of the Nation (PGN) to temporarily send a note to the Argentine Foreign Ministry, headed by Eduardo Cassel, expressing its “deep institutional concern”. The text is signed by Juan Manuel Olima Espel, head of the Secretariat for Institutional Coordination of the PGN, and was addressed to Pablo Tetmanti, Secretary of Foreign Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.