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Investigator of 1994 AMIA bombing found dead

In 2013 Alberto Nisman filed a 506-page report that showed how Iranian officials planned the 1994 AMIA bombing and how Hezbollah executed it. (via minutouno.com)

An Argentinian prosecutor who reopened the investigation into the attack on the Buenos Aires Jewish Center in 1994 that has been attributed to Iranian and Lebanese Hezbollah agents, was found dead in his apartment on Sunday night.

 

Alberto Nisman’s body was found a few hours before a hearing at the Argentinian Congress, where he was due to present evidence that the Argentinian government had planned to clear the names of the Iranian politicians and diplomats accused of planning the AMIA attack.

 

The prosecutor was found shot in the head with a small-caliber gun, though investigators have not ruled out suicide.

 

Nisman, the special prosecutor for the AMIA case, filed last Wednesday a 300-page complaint accusing President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman, among other pro-government political figures, of "covering up" Iranian citizens alleged to have been involved in the 1994 attack. Nisman said his accusations were based on phone taps of close political allies of Fernández. The prosecutor claimed that the president had conspired in a "sophisticated criminal plan" to negotiate with Iranian cleric Mohsen Rabbani, a former Iranian cultural attaché in Buenos Aires and the alleged mastermind of the attack. Although the voice of the Argentinian president is not heard in the hundreds of hours of intercepted phone conversations the Nisman submitted as evidence, the prosecutor said he had other evidence suggesting her involvement, according to InfoBAE.

 

The Argentinian government allegedly promised Tehran it would cancel Interpol arrest warrants for the Iranian suspects in order to close an “oil for grain” deal with Iran. On 27 January 2013, Argentina announced that it had signed a memorandum of understanding with Iran to establish a “truth commission” to investigate the AMIA bombing. According to President Kirchner, the commission was established to "analyze all the documentation presented to date by the judicial authorities of Argentina and Iran… and to give its vision and issue a report with recommendations about how the case should proceed within the legal and regulatory framework of both parties.” Over the past few years, Argentina has been seeking a rapprochement with Iran, motivated by the severe energy crisis in the predominantly agricultural South American country.

 

 

A controversial investigation

 

On 18 July 1994, 85 people were killed and hundreds were injured when a van loaded with about 275 kilograms of ammonium nitrate fertilizer and fuel-oil explosives was detonated in front of the Jewish Community Center, located in a densely-constructed commercial area of Buenos Aires. It is the deadliest bombing Argentina has ever witnessed.

 

The investigation that followed was marked by accusations of cover-ups. All Argentinian suspects, many from the police force, were acquitted in 2004. The judge in charge of the case was accused of incompetence and removed from his post a year later. Alberto Nisman came into the picture in 2006, when, together with Marcelo Martínez Burgos, he accused the government of Iran of planning the bombing and Hezbollah of carrying it out.

 

In November 2007, Interpol issued a red alert on the names of six individuals officially accused of having a role in the attack: Hezbollah’s military commander Imad Fayez Moughnieh; former Iranian Intelligence Minister Ali Fallahijan; Iranian cultural attaché in Buenos Aires Mohsen Rabbani; former diplomat Ahmad Reza Asghari; former Iranian Defense Minister and head of the Quds Force Ahmad Vahidi; and former military commander and politician Mohsen Rezaee. Hezbollah’s Imad Moughnieh was assassinated in Damascus in 2008.

 

In 2012, former Argentinian President Carlos Menem was indicted with obstruction of justice in the probe of the AMIA bombing, specifically of helping to cover the tracks of local accomplices of the attackers.

 

In May 2013, Nisman publishedan indictment accusing Iran of establishing terrorist networks throughout Latin America. Nisman also said new evidence underscored the responsibility of Mohsen Rabbani as mastermind of the AMIA bombing and "coordinator of the Iranian infiltration of South America, especially in Guyana.” He quoted US court documents indicating Islamist militant Abdul Kadir — sentenced to life in prison in 2010 for participating in a foiled plan to attack New York’s JFK International Airport — was Rabbani's disciple.

In 2013 Alberto Nisman filed a 506-page report that showed how Iranian officials planned the 1994 AMIA bombing and how Hezbollah executed it. (via minutouno.com)