On the 28th anniversary of the terrorist car-bombing, hundreds of Argentine Jews demonstrated once again this Monday to demand answers for the 1994 attack, which destroyed the AMIA (Asociación Mutual Israeli Argentina) building. They held up photographs of the 85 people killed outside the rebuilt Jewish community centre.
“What explanation can there be for the fact that in 28 years it has not been possible to catch even one of the multiple people responsible for such an atrocity?” asked the demonstrators’ principal spokesperson, AMIA President Amos Linetzky.
The Argentine judiciary ruled that the principal suspect for the attack was the Iranian government under ex-president Ali Rafsanjani. The bomb also left 300 injured.
“Those awful, despicable murderers are able to enjoy their daily lives, travelling the world in total freedom,” lamented Linetzky.
On a cold winter morning, a siren plays at 9.53am, in memory of the moment when the explosion destroyed the eight-storey building in the Once neighbourhood, a traditionally Jewish area of Buenos Aires.
Every year Argentina requests at the United Nations General Assembly that Tehran allow the accused to be tried before an Argentine judge. The Iranians are subject to an Interpol Red Notice for capture.
Linetsky holds that judicial action “is inefficient, slow and useless.” During the rally, a speaker read out the 85 names of the victims, candles were lit and wreaths of roses laid.
Nobody remains in prison for the attack although three trials have come and gone and its motivation has never been clarified.
In 1992, another terrorist attack destroyed the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, killing 29 and injuring 200. The culprits also remain unpunished.
A trial on the AMIA attack concluded in 2019 with minor punishments for judicial and government officials of the 1989-99 Carlos Menem presidency who were declared guilty of “covering up” the attack, but without determining the reasons for the cover-up nor for the diverting of investigations into the accomplices.
With 300,000 members, the Jewish community of Argentina is the largest in Latin America.