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AMIA: 20 years demanding justice for attack

TWENTY YEARS DEMANDING JUSTICE. People hold up signs that read "Justice" in Spanish and pictures of the victims of the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish Community Centre during a commemoration ceremony in Buenos Aires. Yesterday marked the 20th anniversary of the unsolved bombing attack that left 85 dead. The groups Memoria Activa, 18J and APEMIA staged three separate demonstrations.
Jewish community organizations request Congress to revoke pact with Iran

The accent was on the demand for justice yesterday on the 20th anniversary of the AMIA Jewish community centre terrorist bombing that in 1994 killed 85 people. Relatives of the victims urged Congress to quash the Memorandum of Understanding that the Kirchnerite administration signed with the Iranian government to investigate the attack and also urged the government to bring the accused to an Argentine court.

“We request the government to do its best to try those responsible in an Argentine court,” the AMIA Jewish community representative said after asking lawmakers to put an end to the accord reached last year with the Iranian administration. President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner was not present at the ceremony nor was her Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman, who was harshly criticized by the Jewish community organizations DAIA and AMIA for negotiating the deal with Tehran.

The ceremony started at 9.53am, the exact time when the bomb exploded at the community centre in the City neighbourhood of Once. Candles were lit to commemorate the victims of the attack as their names were read by journalist Mario Pergolini, who conducted the ceremony. Grief and criticism melted into one at the gathering.

The government was not the only state branch that was criticized. Relatives of the victims who gathered outside the AMIA building located on 633 Pasteur street also demanded the judiciary to bring to trial Carlos Telleldín, who provided the van that was used in the terrorist attack. According to court sources, a new trial for the AMIA bombing can be held next year.

“We cannot negotiate with fundamentalist killers,” Luis Czyzewski, whose 21-year-old daughter was killed in the attack 20 years ago, said yesterday facing hundreds of demonstrators.

Czyzewski was making reference to the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Kirchnerite administration in 2013, which also included establishing a truth commission to investigate the attack but also an agreement that would allow Federal Judge Rodolfo Canicoba Corral along with federal prosecutor Alberto Nissman to travel to Iran to question the eight officials accused of being linked to the bombing. However, the Iranian parliament has not passed the accord thus far. In May, the Federal Criminal Appeals Court declared the memorandum unconstitutional, a decision that was appealed by the Kirchnerite administration before the Cassation Court. The highest criminal court has not issued a ruling thus far, a decision that will probably come after the judicial recess that ends in August.

“Maybe it was not important for you, Mr. Foreign Minister, who you were negotiating with but this has been an important diplomatic mistake,” Czyzewski complained. According to him, opposition lawmakers have the chance to amend that mistake by quashing the law that approved the deal signed with the Iranian government.

“The opposition has a great chance to help this government by correcting a bad choice,” he added in the presence of Broad UNEN front lawmakers Ricardo Alfonsín, Ernesto Sanz, Margarita Stolbizer and Hermes Binner and PRO congressman Sergio Bergman. Kirchnerite Senator Aníbal Fernández also listened to the critical speech as well as Fernández de Kirchner’s Education Minister Alberto Sileoni.

Journalist Alfredo Leuco was also invited by the Jewish community organizations to address the crowd that was commemorating that infamous day. Leuco, who works for opposition media, also renewed his criticism against Timerman. “He will always be remembered as the perpetrator is this crime against humanity,” he said. His words were aimed at striking a deep chord in the Kirchnerite administration, which has made of the defence of human rights one its mainstays.

The Jewish community leadership was represented by AMIA Vice-President Ralph Thomas Saieg, who urged the Kirchnerite administration to take the necessary action to bring the suspects to an Argentine court, somehow leaving behind the claim aired by some members of the community and opposition lawmakers to change the Penal Procedural Code to try the accused in absentia.

The leader also requested lawmakers to abolish the pact which is currently being revised by the Cassation Court.

“We’ll not let anyone use the AMIA case as a political banner in any political, partisan or electoral dispute,” he warned before requesting the courts to make improvements in the investigation.

“There has been little progress in the clarification of the attack,” Saieg complained, adding: “Why do we know so much about the so-called international connection and so little about the so-called home connection?” According to Saieg, after the 2009 Supreme Court ruling, the courts have not moved forward with the legal investigation.

Saieg also requested the courts to conduct a prompt trial to reveal Telleldín’s role in the attack. “He has the historic chance of telling the truth,” Saieg affirmed.

Herald staff with DyN, Télam

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