NEW YORK (Jun. 18)
Hector Timerman charged here yesterday that his father Jacobo Timerman, founder and former editor and publisher of the Buenos Aires daily la Opinion, has been incarcerated by the Argentine authorities since April 1977, without trial and without charges filed against him only because he “defended the interests of the Jewish community and waged war against manifestations of anti Semitism “in Argentina.
The younger Timerman appeared at the 66th annual National Commission luncheon of the Anti Defamation League of B’nai B’rith here yesterday to accept the ADL’s Hubert H. Humphrey freedom Prize on behalf of his father. The award was presented by Benjamin R. Epstein, executive vice president of the ADL.
Timerman said that while the Argentine authorities “have been unable to explain the reasons” for his father’s arrest and their refusal to obey an order for his release by the Argentine Supreme Court, there is “a conspicuous reason.” That it was anti-Semitism was made clear, he said by the nature of the interrogation his father underwent after his arrest when he was asked “about his links with the Elders of Zion and his activity in behalf of projects for world dominance by Jews.”
The elder Timerman has been released from prison but remains under house arrest at his home surrounded by armed guards. His newspaper and other property have been confiscated by the authorities. His wife, who had gone to Israel, has returned to Argentina to be with her husband.
In an interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in Washington last week, Hector Timerman said his father cannot leave his apartment even to exercise in the open air. He said his father, now 56, is losing the sight of his left eye but with one exception has not been permitted to visit a specialist. “AH I ask of U.S. citizens is to ask the Argentine government to do what its own lows say” and free him the younger Timerman told the JTA.
Sen. Paul Sarbanes (D. Md.), the principal speaker at the ADL meeting, said “The Timerman case is our business. The rule of law has been cynically laid aside” by the Argentine authorities, he said, adding that there is “no question of modifying the ban on (U.S.) aid to Argentina as long as basic human rights continue to be violated.
Another speaker, Rep. Benjamin A. Gilman (R. NY), noted that President Carter, Vice President Walter Mondale, Secretary of state Cyrus Vance and many members of Congress have made direct appeals to the President, Foreign Minister and Ambassadors of Argentina on Timerman’s behalf without success. “Quiet diplomacy has fallen on deaf ears. The time has come for overt action,” he said.
In a message to the gathering, Sen. Edward Kennedy (D. Mass.) called on the Argentine government to release Timerman and “give a prompt accounting for the fate of thousands of people in Argentina currently held by the military government for political reasons or who have simply disappeared.”
Epstein noted that Timerman “is one of 119 journalists–the best and brightest of the country’s newspapermen — who have either been imprisoned, placed under house arrest or forced into exile. “He said that in the Timerman case “the anti-Semitism has not come out into the open but it lurks in the shadow behind the official silence.