Trial on Cover-Up of Buenos Aires Jewish Center Bombing Opens

Argentina’s former president is among 13 defendants who have gone on trial for bribery and hindering the investigation into the deadly 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires.

Ex-President Carlos Menem did not appear in person on Thursday, the opening day of the trial in a Buenos Aires federal court, due to health problems.

The original investigation failed to convict anyone following a three-year trial that ended in 2004. But the court ordered an extension of the investigation based on a bribery accusation against the presiding judge, Juan Jose Galeano, who is among the defendants now.

“Our expectation for this trial is that the process can shed some light on the attack, in order to know more about it and to be closer to bringing out truth and justice,” Julio Schlosser, president of the DAIA Jewish political umbrella, told JTA. “As in every judicial process, we are confident in our judiciary system.”

DAIA leader Ruben Beraja also is a defendant due to his involvement in the alleged bribery, prosecutor Luciano Hazan said Thursday in court.

The trial will continue each Thursday. With more than 140 witnesses expected to testify, it is estimated to last more than a year.

The bribery accusations involve a payment of $400,000 to an auto mechanic, Carlos Telledin, for testifying against police officers. Also, Galeano is accused of canceling a probe of Alberto Kanoore Edul, a Syrian relative of Menem, at the request of the government.

The July 18, 1994, attack on the AMIA center, which took place during Menem’s first term as president, left 85 dead and 300 injured.

In 2005, a jury dismissed Galeano and the case was transferred to federal judge Rodolfo Canicoba Corral and prosecutor Alberto Nisman. As a result of the Nisman-led investigation, Argentina is seeking the extradition of seven Iranians for their alleged roles in the attack. Nisman accused Argentina’s current president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, and foreign minister, Hector Timerman, who is Jewish, as well as other politicians of covering up Iranian suspects in the case.

Nisman was found dead in his Buenos Aires apartment in January; the cause of his shooting death remains undetermined.


Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

Trial on Cover-Up of Buenos Aires Jewish Center Bombing Opens

Thank you!

This article has been sent!