New Argentina AMIA investigator eyeing trial in absentia


BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) — A trial in absentia could revitalize the AMIA case, the new head of the investigative unit looking into the 1994 bombing of the Buenos Aires Jewish center said.

Mario Cimadevilla, a lawyer and former senator, has been tasked with reactivating the investigation and seeking new ways to bring the case to trial and get justice.

The announcement of his appointment was published Wednesday in the official government gazette.

“All my efforts will be addressed to clarifying the most abominable terrorist attack that our country has ever suffered,” Cimadevilla said. “There will be cooperation and ongoing support for justice; the Argentinian society as a whole needs inexorably to know the truth.”

In speaking to journalists about his task, he said a trial in absentia could revitalize the case. As a senator for the left-wing UCR party, Cimadevilla had undertaken a project dealing with trials in absentia.

The investigative unit, which was created in 2000, will prepare a proposal to be discussed in Congress after the summer recess in March.

Though Argentina has accused the Iranian government of directing the bombing, and the Lebanon-based terror group Hezbollah of carrying it out, no arrests have been made in the case. Six Iranians have been on the Interpol international police agency’s most wanted list since 2007 in connection with the bombing.

Argentina’s Jewish political umbrella, DAIA, welcomed the trial in absentia project.

In a meeting last week with Foreign Relations Minister Susana Malcorra, the DAIA invited Malcorra to the “Candles for Nisman” public demonstration memory on Monday, which will mark the first anniversary of the still mysterious death of the late AMIA special prosecutor Alberto Nisman.

Cimadevilla said he believes Nisman’s death is related to his involvement in the AMIA case.

Nisman’s body was found hours before he was to present evidence to Argentine lawmakers that President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner covered up Iran’s role in the AMIA attack, which left 85 dead and hundreds wounded.

The investigative unit, in coordination with the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights and the Anti-Corruption Office, monitors the progress of court cases related to the bombing.

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