BUENOS AIRES – An Argentine judge on Thursday dismissed 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 evidence does not provide even minimal support for the accusations against Fernandez, Foreign Minister Hector Timerman and six other people, magistrate Daniel Rafecas wrote in a ruling that is subject to appeal.
On the contrary, according to the judge, the evidence “categorically contradicts” Nisman’s notion of a conspiracy.
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.”
Another prosecutor, Gerardo Pollicita, took up the accusation following Nisman’s death and filed a brief with Rafecas two weeks ago asking the judge to approve formal charges against Fernandez and the others.
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.
The late prosecutor said that intercepts of telephone calls among some of the prospective defendants – though 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 last month.
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.