Argentina declassifies files on Jewish center bombing
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Argentina declassifies files on Jewish center bombing

Government acquiesces to investigators’ demands following murder of prosecutor probing 1994 attack

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — The Argentine government on Friday declassified its files on an unsolved 1994 bombing at a Buenos Aires Jewish center that is at the center of a new political firestorm.

In a decree published in the Official Bulletin, the government declassified “all documents in their entirety” from the probe into the bombing.

It also declassified “any other new documents, reports or files that have not been part of the case and could be of interest in the investigation.”

The bombing at the Argentine Jewish Mutual Association (AMIA) killed 85 people and wounded 300, the deadliest such attack in the South American country’s history.

The case came back into the spotlight 21 years later after a prosecutor appointed to reopen the investigation died mysteriously in what his family says was an assassination.

File photos of Argentine President Cristina Kirchner (L) taken in Buenos Aires on September 19, 2012 and of Argentina's deceased Public Prosecutor Alberto Nisman (R) taken in Buenos Aires on May 20, 2009 (Photo credit: Juan Mabromata/AFP)
File photos of Argentine President Cristina Kirchner (L) taken in Buenos Aires on September 19, 2012 and of Argentina’s deceased Public Prosecutor Alberto Nisman (R) taken in Buenos Aires on May 20, 2009 (Photo credit: Juan Mabromata/AFP)

The prosecutor, Alberto Nisman, had accused President Cristina Kirchner of shielding high-ranking Iranian officials from being implicated in the bombing in exchange for oil and trade benefits from Tehran.

Nisman was found dead of a gunshot to the head on January 18, on the eve of congressional hearings where he was due to present his allegations.

The prosecutors assigned to take over the case had requested the declassification.

The news received a lukewarm welcome from leaders of Argentina’s 300,000-strong Jewish community, the largest in Latin America.

“We welcome any new information that might emerge, but what is in doubt is the truthfulness of the information, given that the people who carried out the investigation are now accused of being part of a system that had lost control,” Waldo Wolff, vice president of the Delegation of Argentine Jewish Associations (DAIA), told Radio Mitre.

The initial investigation into the bombing ended with no convictions.

The president at the time, Carlos Menem, is also accused of obstructing the investigation. He is due to face trial on the charge in June.

A judge dismissed the obstruction case against Kirchner last month. The prosecutors who took over the file from Nisman have appealed.

Nisman had accused Iran of ordering the bombing via Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.

He alleged that Kirchner’s government struck a deal with Iranian officials including former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani to have Interpol wanted notices for them annulled.

The Iranian and Argentine governments both deny the accusations. Interpol’s director at the time, Ronald Noble, says no such request was made.

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