AFP: Prosecutors formally charged Iran and the Shiite militia Hezbollah Wednesday in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish charities office in Argentina, which killed 85 people and injured 300. BUENOS AIRES, Oct 25, 2006 (AFP) – Prosecutors formally charged Iran and the Shiite militia Hezbollah Wednesday in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish charities office in Argentina, which killed 85 people and injured 300.
“We deem it proven that the decision to carry out an attack July 18, 1994 on the AMIA (Argentine Jewish Mutual Association, a Jewish charities association headquarters in Buenos Aires) was made by the highest authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran which directed Hezbollah to carry out the attack,” Argentine chief prosecutor Alberto Nisman said.
Prosecutors called for the arrest of top Iranian authorities at the time, including then-president Ali Rafsanjani.
In Beirut, a Hezbollah source said she had not yet heard that the Shiite militia had been formally charged but that it came as no surprise.
“I have not yet heard that but it is not new,” she told AFP. “The Zionists want that (the two parties be charged).”
No one has been tried for the crime in more than a decade since Argentina’s worst-ever terror attack.
On September 2, 2004, an Argentine court acquitted 21 former police officers and a trafficker of stolen cars who were charged with aiding the attackers. The same court then ordered former top government officials investigated for botching the 10-year case.
The court found that key evidence against the men had been “irregularly” obtained, and ordered an investigation of Judge Juan Jose Galeano, who presided over the case for nine years, as well as two prosecutors.
Galeano was accused of having paid 400,000 dollars to a key witness to testify against four police officers accused of having provided logistical support in the plot.
The court also sought an investigation of former Argentine president Carlos Menem’s interior minister, Carlos Corach, and Hugo Anzorregui, former head of the state intelligence service.
Investigation of the bombing has been a festering issue in Argentina for 10 years, as Argentine Jews and international rights groups have criticized Argentine leaders for their inability or unwillingness to find those behind the bombing.
Argentina, with more than 300,000 Jews, has South America’s largest Jewish community.