Nisman files to aid new probe of Iran’s role in AMIA bombing

JTA Staff

Participants in a memorial ceremony on the 22nd anniversary of the AMIA Jewish Center bombing in Buenos Aires hold photos of some of the 85 victims on July 18, 2016. (Photo by Leonardo Kremenchuzky courtesy of AMIA)

Participants in a memorial ceremony on the 22nd anniversary of the AMIA Jewish center bombing in Buenos Aires holding photos of some of the 85 victims, July 18, 2016. (Leonardo Kremenchuzky/Courtesy of AMIA)

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) — A federal judge in Argentina agreed to transfer the case file of the late AMIA prosecutor Alberto Nisman to another judge who is presiding over a new investigation into the alleged Argentine government plan to whitewash Iran’s role in the 1994 bombing of the Buenos Aires Jewish center.

Judge Daniel Rafecas will send the Nisman information to Judge Claudio Bonadio, who is looking into the country’s former foreign minister, Hector Timerman, who is Jewish, for his alleged role in the plan. Bonadio also is investigating ex-President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner for an alleged 2015 government securities fraud scheme.

Rafecas, the judge who originally rejected the Nisman accusations, ruled in March that no new evidence has come to light and that the case should remain closed due to the absence of a proven criminal offense. But prosecutor Eduardo Taiano ruled a week ago that the accusations made by Nisman against Argentina’s previous government must be reopened in response to a request made by two fathers of AMIA bombing victims, who were accepted as plaintiffs in the case by Bonadio.

Since December, Bonadio has been investigating a lawsuit alleging treason against Fernandez and Timerman who, along with members of Congress, in February 2103 voted for the controversial memorandum of understanding with Iran that initiated the joint investigation of the AMIA attack.

“If there was someone else, they [the Iranians] wouldn’t have planted the bomb. So we are back to the beginning. Do you have someone else for me to negotiate with?” Timerman said in a recording of a telephone conversation he had with then-AMIA president Guillermo Borger – an opponent of Argentina’s brief collaboration with Iran on the investigation. Six months later the judges admitted the recording as evidence.

The memorandum was canceled in December by Argentina’s new president, Mauricio Macri.

Nisman had been scheduled to appear in Congress the day after his still-unresolved death to present his allegations about the secret deal to cover up Iranian officials’ alleged role in the AMIA bombing, which killed 85 and injured 300. His findings could help the Bonadio investigation.

More than 18 months after Nisman’s death, authorities have yet to determine whether he took his own life or was killed by someone else.

The Timerman recordings and others could be considered new elements in an investigation by another judge, so the Nisman investigation about a possible cover-up of Iran’s part in the AMIA bombing could survive.