AMIA bombing suspect acquitted by Argentina court, Jewish org. outraged
Carlos Telleldín, the suspect accused of providing the car bomb in the 1994 terror attack on the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association building in Buenos Aires that killed 85 and left more than 300 injured, was acquitted in a verdict delivered by federal judges Javier Ríos, Andrés Basso and Fernando Canero on Wednesday.
The AMIA and the Jewish political umbrella DAIA rejected the acquittal and announced that they will appeal the decision.
"Of course we intend to appeal the court's decision! We're very concerned for the Argentinian judiciary system," said AMIA president Ariel Eichbaum in reaction to the verdict.
"In any other country in the world that deals with such an attack, you see more arrests in a much shorter time," he said.
Telleldín was accused of having conditioned, provided and delivered the car bomb that was used to commit the terrorist attack that took place on July 18, 1994, when a suicide bomber drove a car laden with explosive materials into the AMIA building. It is widely believed that Iran was behind the attack, while the suicide bomber was a member of its proxy, Hezbollah.
The institutions asserted in a release that "the ample evidence provided against the defendant had the forcefulness and relevance needed to be able to convict the one who collaborated so that the attack could be carried out.
"In total disagreement with the verdict of the federal judges, the community institutions reject the Court's decision, and say that they will continue, indefinitely, on the path forged until now, to achieve justice and condemn the conceptual and actual authors of the massacre who collaborated so that the attack could be carried out," the release said.
"The massacre perpetrated on July 18, 1994, is a crime against humanity, and therefore, imprescriptible. The fight against impunity is imperative – and the Jewish entities will continue this fight in order to achieve the justice that has been demanded for more than 26 years."
In 2019, the United Nations held a special session in New York to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the AMIA Jewish community center bombing. That same year, Argentina listed Hezbollah as a terrorist group.
Eichbaum said at the time that the 1994 terrorist attack – which is still the deadliest attack on Jews since the Holocaust – left a “toll of destruction and death” and a “wound that has not been able to heal.”
Argentina signed a controversial Memorandum of Understanding with Iran in 2013 under then-president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, stating that the two countries would jointly investigate the attack. Critics said it violated the executive branch’s principles of independence.
Alberto Nisman, the federal prosecutor who alleged that Argentina’s president and other government ministers covered up Iran’s role in the bombing, was found dead in his Buenos Aires apartment in January 2015, hours before he was to present his allegations to Congress. His death was ruled a likely suicide, but an Argentine federal appeals court later called it murder.
The Iran-Argentina agreement was voided in December 2015 in the first week of Mauricio Macri’s presidency.