Argentina's ruling coalition lawmakers will insist on Monday in Congress that special prosecutor Alberto Nisman lacks evidence to charge President Cristina Fernández and other administration officials with the cover-up of the AMIA Jewish community centre bombing that killed 85 people and injured 300 in 1994.
For his part, Nisman, the prosecutor appointed ten years ago by the president’s late husband, Néstor Kirchner, revealed to some opposition media that he will appear at the hearing summoned by PRO lawmaker Patricia Bullrich, who heads the Criminal Legislation Committee, with more documents to back his allegations.
The president's chief of staff Anibal Fernández reactivated his defense of Cristina Fernandez who last Wednesday was accused of having ordered to negotiate impunity for the Iranian suspects in the AMIA attack in order to fuel trade relations with Tehran. According to Nisman, Argentina needed oil and wanted to sponsor the grain exports to Iran.
Former Foreign minister Jorge Taiana revealed that it was Iran that wanted to stop the commercial exchange with Argentina when the country issued the arrest warrants against eight Iranian officials — who were reportedly implicated in the worst-ever terrorist attack the country suffered.
Aníbal Fernández repeated that the accusations against the president were “ridiculous” but he preferred not to mention the situation of Luis D’Elía, a former Kirchnerite official who was forced to step down in 2006 after defending Iran in the AMIA case. It was then when Federal Judge Rodolfo Canicoba Corral defined the AMIA attack as a crime against humanity and ordered to arrest eight Iranian suspects and a Lebanese.
According to the information leaked by Nisman’s office to the press, the prosecutor has phone tapping records of D’Elía talking to Jorge Khalil — a man with alleged good ties with the Iranian authorities. Then D’Elía was reportedly heard saying that “the boss wanted an agreement.”
A day after Canicoba Corral said he had not ordered any phone tapping against the president, Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman or D’Elía, Nisman explained he mostly based his case on the records to Khalil, a suspect under investigation. However, Canicoba Corral complained that with his move, Nisman ended up frustrating the investigation into Khalil’s reported role in the attack.
Ruling Victory Front (FpV) lawmaker Héctor Recalde said that “it will be interesting to question Nisman about how he conducted the probe.”
The Argentine government accuses prosecutor Nisman of working hand-in-hand with Jaime Stiusso, a former agent at Intelligence Secretariat (SI, formerly known as SIDE) who was reportedly removed when Oscar Parrilli was appointed to head the country’s intelligence services last month. Stiusso was said to be working behind the scenes against the memorandum of understanding —signed by the Kirchnerite administration and Iran in January 2013 to investigate the AMIA bombing. According to a Kirchnerite source, internal rifts within the SI started when the Federal Criminal Appeals Court declared unconstitutional the Memorandum in May last year.
“We want Nisman to explain to us what he did with all the resources he has, why he didn’t file the complaint before Canicoba Corral or asked the Appeals Court. We want to know why he directly filed the case before (Federal Judge Ariel) Lijo.”
Lijo is in charge of investigating those who covered up the attack but he is also the judge who last year indicted Vice-President Amado Boudou for negotiations incompatible with public office and bribery for his role in the controversial Ciccone mint company case.