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December 23, 2020 4:08 pm

Argentine Jews React With Fury as Key Suspect in 1994 AMIA Bombing Atrocity Is Acquitted

avatar by Ben Cohen

A display in Buenos Aires of pictures and names of victims of the 1994 AMIA bombing, in which 85 people died and hundreds more were wounded. Photo: Reuters / Marcos Brindicci.

In a shock decision on Wednesday, an Argentine federal court acquitted the individual charged with supplying the truck that was used in the deadly terrorist bombing of the AMIA Jewish center on July 18, 1994, in which 85 people were murdered and more than 300 wounded.

The acquittal of the defendant, Carlos Telleldin, symbolized the grave judicial errors in pursuing those responsible for the Iran-orchestrated bombing, scandalizing the Argentine Jewish community, which had expected a conviction, as well.

In a joint statement after the verdict was announced, AMIA and the DAIA — the umbrella body representing Argentine Jews — condemned the decision for “consecrating, in a shameful manner, the path of impunity.”

The statement declared that the “acquittal of the person who participated in the delivery of the Trafic van that blew up the Pasteur 633 headquarters (the AMIA building), in what was the worst terrorist attack in the country’s history, is a deeply regrettable fact, which adds more pain and generates an inexplicable bewilderment in the face of the evidence presented.”

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Remarking that they had been “tirelessly pursuing justice for more than 26 years,” the two groups pledged to appeal Wednesday’s decision.

Telleldin was originally arrested one week after the AMIA bombing, alongside five Buenos Aires police officers who were allegedly involved in the atrocity. He spent 10 years in prison, but was released in 2004 after an investigation revealed that he had been paid $400,000 in 1995 for his cooperation in the trial, leading the judge to dismiss the evidence assembled during the case in its entirety.

In February 2019, Telledin was again sentenced — this time for three years and six months — following a trial involving multiple defendants, including former President Carlos Menem, into the corruption that marked the government’s first investigation into the AMIA atrocity.

In the same year, Telledin became the subject of a fresh trial into the original bombing that culminated in Wednesday’s decision.

Following the collapse of the AMIA investigation during Menem’s time in office, the probe was reconstituted in 2004 by the late former President Nestor Kirchner. After three years of solid investigation by federal prosecutor Alberto Nisman, Interpol “red notices” were issued in 2007 for the six Iranian and Hezbollah suspects in the AMIA bombing.

However, Nisman eventually paid for his efforts with his life in 2015, when he was found murdered in his apartment hours before he was due to unveil a complaint against then-President Cristina Fern√°ndez de Kirchner (the spouse of the now-deceased Nestor) that detailed her government’s collusion in exonerating the Iranian regime of responsibility for the AMIA bombing.

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