BUENOS AIRES – An Argentine appellate panel upheld on Thursday a lower court decision dismissing the charges late prosecutor Alberto Nisman brought against President Cristina Fernandez of trying to conceal Iranian involvement in a 1994 attack on a Jewish organization in Buenos Aires that left 85 people dead.
The three-judge panel voted 2-1 against prosecutor Gerardo Pollicita’s appeal of the dismissal.
Nisman, the special prosecutor for the 1994 attack on the AMIA Jewish organization, was found dead Jan. 18, four days after he announced the charges against Fernandez.
The prosecutor died of a single shot to the temple, fired from a gun he had borrowed from a colleague. The case remains under investigation as a “suspicious death.”
Pollicita took up the accusation following Nisman’s death and filed a brief in early February asking Judge Daniel Rafecas to approve formal charges against Fernandez, Foreign Minister Hector Timerman and six other people.
The evidence assembled by Nisman does not provide even minimal support for the accusations, Rafecas wrote a month ago when he dismissed the case.
Nisman’s accusation against Fernandez cited the Memorandum of Understanding her administration signed with Iran in 2013 to facilitate the AMIA investigation as the principal instrument of the purported cover-up.
Though the MoU was never implemented, the late prosecutor said that intercepts of telephone calls among some of the prospective defendants – not Fernandez or Timerman – showed the outlines of a plan for Argentina to get Interpol to rescind the red notices the international police agency had issued for the arrest of Iranians accused in the AMIA bombing.
Yet the man who headed Interpol for 15 years until last November rebutted Nisman’s key accusation.
“I can say with 100 percent certainty, not a scintilla of doubt, that Foreign Minister Timerman and the Argentine government have been steadfast, persistent and unwavering that the Interpol’s red notices be issued, remain in effect and not be suspend or removed,” Ronald K. Noble said in January.
Many in the Argentine Jewish community believe the AMIA bombing was ordered by Iran and carried out by Tehran’s Hezbollah allies.
Both the Iranian government and the Lebanese militia group deny any involvement and the accusation relies heavily on information provided by the CIA and Israel’s Mossad spy agency.
Prosecutors have yet to secure a single conviction in the case.
In September 2004, 22 people accused in the bombing were acquitted after a process plagued with delays, irregularities and tales of witnesses’ being paid for their testimony.