Latin American leaders back Argentine VP after prosecutor's prison request

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BUENOS AIRES, Aug 24 (Reuters) - Latin American leaders sent their support to Argentina's Vice President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner on Wednesday, after a federal prosecutor asked for extensive prison time in her corruption proceedings.

In a letter widely published on social media, the presidents of Mexico, Colombia and Bolivia said they backed Fernandez de Kirchner two days after a federal prosecutor requested she get a 12-year jail sentence if found guilty. She is charged with defrauding the state and involvement in a scheme to divert public funds while president from 2007 to 2015. read more

"This persecution aims to remove Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner from public, political and electoral life, as well as to bury the values and ideals she represents, with the ultimate goal of implementing a neoliberal model," reads the letter.

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The letter was also signed by Argentine President Alberto Fernandez, who said on Monday she was a victim of a "judicial persecution."

Center-left President Gabriel Boric of Chile did not sign the letter, while Pedro Castillo of Peru retweeted it late Wednesday with the message, "My solidarity with the vice president of sister republic Argentina."

Fernandez de Kirchner, one of the country's top political figures, leads the most hardline wing of the center-left Peronist coalition that has governed Argentina since the end of 2019.

The verdict and potential sentence will be decided by a judge, which could take months, according to local media, which could affect the chances of the ruling party in the presidential election at the end of 2023.

She could appeal any decision, possibly delaying the final verdict for years.

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Reporting by Maximilian Heath; Editing by Richard Chang and Christopher Cushing

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