Fernando Andrés Sabag Montiel, the 35-year-old behind last year’s failed assassination attempt against Cristina Fernández de Kirchner in Recoleta, has broken his silence over the attack, declaring that he acted alone and that he tried to kill Argentina’s vice-president because of “the situation in the country.”
Speaking via telephone from the Ezeiza jail where he is being held under pre-trial detention, Sabag Montiel said in a brief interview with the C5N news channel that he “acted alone” and had “no regrets” over the attack.
“I pulled the trigger and [the bullet] didn’t come out,” said the suspect, who explained that he wanted to kill the Senate chief because of the “situation” in Argentina.
He also claimed that the police and media were planting evidence in order to secure his conviction and link the failed assassination attempt to a wider group of individuals.
"I have no regrets. I wanted to kill her because of the situation in the country," he said. "I did it on my own initiative, do you understand? They are making up a story. I acted alone with regard to the attack, and I have the evidence here,” said Sabag Montiel.
He said his 23-year-old girlfriend, Brenda Uliarte, who was also arrested for the attack, “had nothing to do with it.”
A friend of the duo, 27-year-old Nicolás Carrizo – who has been dubbed the leader of 'los copitos,' a group of street sellers of candy-floss who mixed with Sabag Montiel and Uliarte – has also been arrested in the investigation into the failed murder attempt.
The attack took place in front of Fernández de Kirchner's home in Recoleta. The assailant mixed with a group of supporters who were waiting for the vice-president to arrive and greet her, eight days after prosecutors requested her conviction in a high-profile corruption case.
The investigation into the attack has not yet been elevated to oral and public trial.
The evidence against Sabag Montiel is overwhelming. The suspect was arrested at the scene last September 1 after attempting to kill Fernández de Kirchner. Militants saw him point a .32-calibre pistol at the vice-president’s head and pull the trigger, with the attack caught on camera by CCTV cameras and members of the public.
Leaked WhatsApp messages from the casefile reveal that Sabag Montiel and Uliarte exchanged messages about the attempt prior to the attack taking place.
Uliarte subsequently contacted others involved in the plot as to the possibility of making another attempt on Fernández de Kirchner’s life.
Seeking to dismiss conspiracy theories that the failed attack was staged, Sabag Montiel confirmed that the pistol he used in the attack was loaded.
“I pulled the trigger and the shot didn't go off. The gun had five bullets in it. Then they planted bullets in my house. They planted drugs, saying I was a drug addict,” he complained, claiming there is a plot to “inflate an image” that is unrepresentative of the truth.
Asked why the attack had failed, Sabag Montiel admitted that he was “nervous” due to the “crowd,” the sheer amount of people who had gathered outside Fernández de Kirchner’s apartment building and the magnitude of the assassination attempt.
"Imagine the nerves of being in a place … when I pulled the trigger the shot didn't come out. Because in such a crowd, so many people, I was nervous," he explained.
The revelations, which were aired on C5N’s Minuto Uno show on Monday night, were accompanied by the news that Sabag Montiel had written a letter to Diego Luciani, the lead prosecutor in the recent high-profile ‘Vialidad’ trial that ended in a conviction corruption for Fernández de Kirchner.
In it, the suspect said he is “being held hostage” behind bars and pleaded for help.
Federal Judge María Eugenia Capuchetti, who is in charge of the investigation into the failed assassination attempt, has requested that the case now be elevated to oral trial, though prosecutors say more time is needed, notably to fully investigate and analyse the contents of the failed attacker’s mobile phone.
Asked how he knew Luciani by a C5N journalist, Sabag Montiel said that “I knew him from TV.”
“It is obvious that Luciani was angry. He is the one who has the cases that have problems for Cristina,” he added.
Fernández de Kirchner has called on the Judiciary to fully and properly to investigate the intellectual authors of the failed attack, presuming that Sabag Montiel was solely used to carry out their nefarious aims.