Photo Credit: Photo credit: La Nación, Wikipedia commons
Remains of the AMIA Jewish Center after the 1994 bombing in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Jewish groups in Argentina were flabbergasted last week when a federal court again allowed a car mechanic accused of preparing the bomb and handing it over to the bombers who in 1994 blew up the AMIA (Argentinian Israeli Mutual Association) Jewish Center in Buenos Aires, to walk free.

At least 85 people were killed and hundreds more were injured on that day, July 18, 1994. The bombing was Argentina’s deadliest terrorist attack to date.

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Judge Andres Basso, who handed down the decision to acquit Carlos Telleldin, refused to explain the ruling; the court said details of the decision will be made available only on March 26.

In 1995, during the first round in court, Telleldin was paid $400,000 for his cooperation in the trial (he was arrested a week after the attack, as were five police officers who were allegedly involved in the operation and were sent to prison for 10 years) and as a result a judge dismissed the evidence in the case.

While in prison, Telleldin went to school and earned a law degree – and worked as an attorney upon his release.

Regardless, in 2009 the Supreme Court finally ordered a new trial for Telleldin after appeals by AMIA and DAIA – but the trial was delayed repeatedly until last year – ten years after the order.

AMIA and DAIA Jewish umbrella organizations say they will, again, appeal the verdict to acquit Telleldin.

But there are others who have not been tried, let alone convicted, for their part in the attack: six Iranians and one Lebanese suspect were named by the late Argentinian prosecutor, Alberto Nisman, and have been on the Interpol Most Wanted List since 2007.

Nisman, who alleged there was corruption at the highest levels of government – including the president of the country herself at the time, who he said was also involved in covering up Iran’s role in the bombing – was found dead in his Buenos Aires apartment just hours before he was to present his allegations to Congress in January 2015.

An Argentine appeals court subsequently called Nisman’s death a murder, despite its initial label by police who called it a suicide.

By December 2015, President Mauricio Macri’s government voided the country’s agreement with Iran; four years later, on the 25th anniversary of the horrific bombing of the AMIA Jewish center, Argentina joined numerous other nations around the world in designating Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.