Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Ex-Argentinian President to Stand Trial for AMIA Attack

By Jspace Staff  

Haverim yekarim,
We have been witnesses of the horrific terrorist attack in Buenos Aires, Argentina, 18 years ago, July 18 1994. We do not forget. People who forget are condemn to repeat their history. We do not forget our friends, teachers and students. We do not forget the foreign workers who were remodeling the building. We do not forget Sebastian, the 6 years old child who was walking holding hands with his mom on the sidewalk of the building and was "swallowed" by the impact of the bomb. We do not forget each soul, each life.
To their memory we claim for justice.

Ex-Argentinian President Carlos Menem will stand trial for a 1994 attack on a Jewish center in the South American country. The bombing at the AMIA center 18 years ago left 85 dead and hundreds more wounded, in a largely unsolved case that has typically been attributed to Hezbollah.

Now, Menem will be held accountable for accused crimes of obstructing justice, as intelligence emerged that he may have covered up evidence implicating local citizens in the attack. The 81-year-old currently serves in the country’s senate and if convicted could be expelled from government. If his colleagues impeach him, he could then be sent to prison. Suspicions that the attack was funded by Iran and carried out by Lebanon’s Hezbollah terrorist group have long been disputed by the Islamic Republic, though Interpol did release arrest warrants for five Iranians and one Lebanese man in 2007. Those individuals have yet to be brought in on the charges.

Argentina has the largest Jewish population in South America. On July 14, 1994, a truck loaded with explosives smashed into the AMIA building in Buenos Aires, completely destroying the seven-story structure. A replacement building was built in 1999, protected by a security wall. In 2009, Menem was first accused of a cover-up of the attack, which took place during his inaugural term as president. This is the first time he will actually stand trial, following a judge’s ruling on Friday.

Israel’s ambassador to Argentina Ron Prosor praised the news, saying it showed a “reenergizing” of the AMIA bombing investigation. “In the past there was not a real motivation to check [the facts],” he said. “I see it differently today. One should give them credit for it.”

The 1994 attack came just two years after a similar bombing at Argentina’s Israeli embassy, in which a truck laden with explosives drove into the building’s front entrance. That structure too was entirely demolished, though a rebuilding program for the embassy was recently announced.

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