On 27th anniversary of AMIA bombing, families continue to seek justice

Argentina’s Memoria Activa association organizes memorial event, demands ‘truth and justice’ over 1994 attack, which killed 85 civilians

The Buenos Aires AMIA Jewish center after it was attacked, July 1994. (Cambalachero/ Wikimedia Commons)
The Buenos Aires AMIA Jewish center after it was attacked, July 1994. (Cambalachero/ Wikimedia Commons)

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Families of the victims of the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center in Argentina’s capital Buenos Aires that left 85 dead and hundreds wounded, on Sunday renewed their demands for justice as they marked the anniversary of the attack.

Argentina’s 300,000-strong Jewish community — the largest in South America — is angry that no one has ever been convicted over the bombing.

The virtual event was organized by the Memoria Activa (active memory) association under the motto: “27 years without justice, full of memories.”

Argentina President Alberto Fernandez paid tribute to the family members who “remain strong in their demand for truth and justice.”

“In memory of every one of [the victims] and in honor of those that lost their loved ones, we must unite against impunity,” he wrote on Twitter.

The bombing at the Argentine Jewish Mutual Association (AMIA), a community center in Buenos Aires, remains the deadliest terror strike in the country’s history.

People hold up pictures of people who died during the bombing at the AMIA Jewish center that killed 85 people, on the 25th anniversary of the attack in Buenos Aires, Argentina, July 18, 2019. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

The initial investigation was botched and tainted by allegations of corruption.

In 2006, prosecutor Alberto Nisman took over the investigation and soon accused then-president Cristina Kirchner — now Fernandez’s vice-president — of a cover-up.

Iran and Hezbollah have long been linked to the attack. Based on the investigations of the late prosecutor Nisman, who was Jewish, six Iranians and one Lebanese have been on Interpol’s most-wanted list since 2007.

He accused Iran of ordering the attack via the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah, but his efforts to prosecute five Iranian officials, including former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, were cut short when Kirchner’s administration signed a deal with Iran to set up a Tehran-based joint commission to investigate the attacks.

Then-Argentina’s public prosecutor Alberto Nisman gives a press conference in Buenos Aires on May 20, 2009. January 18, 2020 marked the fifth anniversary of the mysterious death of Nisman, who had accused Iran of the attack on the Jewish mutual AMIA in 1994 and had denounced ex-president Cristina Kirchner in the case. (JUAN MABROMATA / AFP)

Iran has never allowed its officials to be interviewed, although the country’s parliament also rejected the Kirchner deal.

Nisman accused Kirchner of trying to arrange the deal in exchange for oil and trade benefits, basing his accusations on hundreds of hours of wiretaps.

But just before he was due to present his findings to Congress in January 2015, Nisman died at his home in mysterious circumstances.

Kirchner is nonetheless under investigation, accused of covering up the bombing and treason.

On Friday, she asked that the case be dropped, calling it a “political scandal” and claiming that it was being used as “an instrument of persecution of the political opponents of the Mauricio Macri government” that followed hers.

In 2019, on the 25th anniversary of AMIA bombing, Argentina listed Hezbollah as a terrorist group.

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