A court in Argentina convicted five people and acquitted eight others, including a former president, for their roles in obstructing the investigation into the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, Agence France-Presse reported Thursday.
Former President Carlos Menem, who ruled Argentina from 1989 to 1999, was acquitted of the charges that he ordered a coverup.
However, Judge Juan José Galeano, who presided over the initial investigation into the biggest terror attack in Argentina’s history, was found guilty of paying $400,000 to Carlos Telledin to implicate of a group of police officers in the crime.
The bombing, which occurred July 18, 1994, killed 85 people and wounded hundreds of others.
Galeano was sentenced to six years in jail for concealment and violation of evidence. Telledin was sentenced to three-and-a-half years for his role. Hugo Anzorreguy, a former intelligence chief, was sentenced to four-and-a-half years. All of the sentences are subject to appeal.
Galeano denied that he was acting on orders from Menem.
Telledin sold the van that was used to carry out the bombing to a Lebanese Hezbollah operative.
Alberto Nisman, the prosecutor who was appointed to take over the investigation in 2004, and continued until his murder in 2015, established that Iran was behind the attack.
Two others, prosecutors Eamon Mullen and Jose Barbaccia, were sentenced to two-year terms for failure to do carry out their duties as they related to the investigation.
A group of family members of the victims of the AMIA bombing criticized the verdict.
“It is more than clear, and the evidence proves it, that the Menem government knew that the attack would happen and did absolutely nothing to avoid it, much less to clarify it,” the group, Active Memory, said. “He is and will be one of the principals responsible for impunity in the AMIA case.”
In Iran, the Nisman Murder, and the Future of Jewish Life in Argentina, which was published in the March 2015 issue of The Tower Magazine, Eamonn MacDonagh wrote:
To say that the initial investigation into the AMIA massacre was disastrous is an understatement. It now seems certain that the inquiry, led by Judge Juan José Galeano, was carried out with the specific intention of convicting a handful of low-level accessories while leaving the main suspects in peace. Every conceivable error and abuse was committed during the investigation, including the bribing of a witness and the loss of vital phone tap recordings. No one really knows why this occurred, but there are plenty of theories.
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