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Argentine Jews Demand Government Jumpstart AMIA Bombing Probe

BUENOS AIRES — Argentine Jewish leaders called on the country’s government to make the investigation of the AMIA Jewish center bombing a “national priority,” at a ceremony commemorating the attack that killed 85 and injured hundreds.

Speakers at the ceremony Monday at the site of the rebuilt building also thanked the government for voiding the agreement with Iran to jointly investigate the 1994 bombing, which Iran has been accused of being behind.

AMIA Vice President Ralph Thomas Saieg praised the “positive nullification” of the pact. Sofia Guterman, mother of victim Andrea Guterman, 28, also praised the government of Mauricio Macri for canceling the memorandum of understanding with Iran in December 2015 during the president’s first week in office.

Guterman also told the gathering that the previous governments “talked a lot but did very little. It is time that it promises less and solves more.”

Guterman added that if the investigation does not come to a resolution, “we’ll soon have to issue a death certificate for the case itself.”

Macri attended the event for the first time as president, but left early. Other members of his cabinet attended the whole event.

Saieg called on the head of AMIA Special Unit Mario Cimadevilla, and Justice Minister Germán Garavano, to make the case “a national priority. We know you have been in your posts for a short time, but we have been calling for justice for 22 years and bearing the sad reality of not having even one person arrested.”

On Monday at the Global Forum Against Anti-Semitism, the last panel was dedicated to the AMIA 1994 terrorist attack. There Cimadevilla confirmed to the audience that he is preparing a law for trial in absentia to be discussed soon in the Parliament. The 250 participants of the first forum came to Buenos Aires from 17 countries, and participated in the AMIA ceremony.

The late AMIA prosecutor Alberto Nisman was also remembered at the event, a year and half after his still-mysterious death.  “Nisman didn’t kill himself, he was murdered. He was assassinated for being the prosecutor of AMIA case,” Guterman asserted Monday during a panel about the AMIA attack at the Global Forum against Anti-Semitism.

“The fact that Argentina entered into a deal with Iran, which is widely believed to have planned the attack, has always been very disconcerting and appalling,” B’nai B’rith International President Gary P. Saltzman said in a statement. “Alberto Nisman’s valiant efforts to procure justice for victims of the AMIA building bombing will always be acknowledged by B’nai B’rith.”

Nisman had been scheduled to appear in Congress hours after he was discovered dead in his apartment to present allegations that then-President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner orchestrated a secret deal to cover up Iranian officials’ alleged role in the AMIA bombing. Fernandez denied the allegations and judges threw out the case.

Twenty-two years after the AMIA bombing none has been arrested for the attack. In the 18 months since Nisman’s death, authorities have yet to determine whether he took his own life or was killed by someone else.

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