An Argentine court voted 2-1 to dismiss charges that President Kirchner concealed Iran’s role in the 1994 AMIA bombing.
An Argentine appellate court voted 2-1 to dismiss criminal charges against President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner for concealing Iran’s role in the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, which killed 85 people. The court’s decision comes just two months after the suspicious death of Alberto Nisman, lead prosecutor for the case.
Two of the appellate judges found the case against Kirchner to be without merit. “It is the presence of evidence that must drive a criminal investigation, not the inverse,” said Judge Jorge Ballestero in his decision. “Witness stands are not stages for theater, and judicial files are not filmstrips.”
However, the dissenting judge, Eduardo Farah, said that an investigation is needed to “clarify remaining unanswered questions.”
President Smears Prosecutor After his Death
Lead prosecutor Alberto Nisman was found dead of a gunshot wound to the head in his home on Jan. 18, shortly before he was scheduled to brief the Congress on the case. Although the official forensics report ruled his death a suicide, a private investigation funded by Nisman’s former wife concluded that he was murdered. A new forensics investigation is underway.
Since Nisman’s death, the Kirchner government has accused him of embezzling funds. Cabinet chief Anibal Fernandez claimed, “He was given plenty of funds to investigate the AMIA case and he spent them on women and hiring useless employees.” He is also being accused of accepting kickbacks from the IT specialists working on the case.
On March 22, it was revealed that evidence pertinent to the case may have been destroyed during a fire a month earlier at Casa Rosada, Argentina’s presidential palace. An anonymous source told Argentinian newspaper Clarin, “Almost the whole database was deleted. Most of those who entered [the building] after the fire are ‘new’ people for the system. There are no records.”
The new prosecutor, German Moldes, has 10 days to appeal the court’s ruling.