It has been described as the “most complex case in Argentina’s judicial history". Twelve years after bombers struck a Jewish community centre in Argentina, charges were finally brought.
More than 80 people were killed and hundreds were wounded when the Buenos Aires Jewish-Argentine Mutual Association (AMIA) community centre was car-bombed. The building, seven floors tall, was reduced to rubble.
The case has been surrounded by conspiracy theories, and whispers of a cover-up involving the former Argentine president Carlos Menem. Some claimed that the bombers were enacting revenge for Argentina’s decision to suspend a nuclear deal with Iran.
In 2004 five people were acquitted in connection with the attack amidst accusations of witness bribery and a botched investigation. Carlos Telleldín, a former mechanic who was suspected of providing the explosives-filled van to the bombers, was allegedly paid $400,000 to testify falsely against local suspects.
The federal judge who led the investigation was impeached in 2005 following accusations of “serious irregularities”.
In 2006 the Iranian government and terrorist organisation Hizbollah were formally charged over the blast. The state prosecutor indicted the former Iranian President and eight other suspects. Then-president Nestor Kirchner even denounced Iran in an address to the UN General Assembly.
However nobody has ever been convicted over what happened. In June 2009 the Argentinean Supreme Court voted to re-open the investigation
What the JC said: Justice for the victims, their families and Argentina’s good name will require bold steps. For the country’s Jews, Amia — the greatest pogrom in post-Inquisition Latin America — will remain indelible. For world Jewry, there is a historic twist. A country which gained notoriety as a safe haven for Nazi war criminals is leading efforts to resist Iranian-inspired terrorism in the Americas.
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