Buenos Aires, Argentina
Diana Malamud says DAIA, AMIA are mostly interested in not incriminating themselvesDiana Malamud was 35 when the bombing on the AMIA Jewish community centre took place on July 18, 1994, killing her husband Andrés Malamud.
Malamud, long critical of the role Jewish community leaders played in the probe, co-founded Memoria Activa (Active Memory), which filed a complaint against Argentina before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) for failing to investigate the attack.
“This is really moving,” Malamud told the Herald, addressing the trial against former president Carlos Menem and 12 others over the alleged cover-up of the attack that will start tomorrow. “They’re really bad people.”
What are your expectations for the trial?
We want all the defendants to be convicted. There is enough evidence of their crimes. They are responsible for the lack of justice 21 years after the terrorist attack. This trial is also important to collect information about the investigation into the bombing itself.
Did you have any expectation with the 2001 trial?
We wanted (Carlos) Telleldín to be convicted. We did not press charges against the BA provincial police officers at the end of the trial because they had nothing to do with the AMIA attack. We’ve now seen this information thanks to Néstor Kirchner’s decision to allow members of the Intelligence Secretariat (SI, formerly known as SIDE) to testify, although AMIA and DAIA were opposed to it.
Did they object in order to not incriminate former DAIA head Rubén Beraja?
They didn’t want to incriminate themselves. They argued it was unconstitutional and put national security at risk. Nonsense. They were plaintiffs.
Your organization took Argentina before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights for failing to investigate the AMIA attack. What progress has been made since the group signed a friendly agreement with the state in 2005?
Sadly, not much. Argentina acknowledged its responsibility in failing to investigate and failing to protect its own citizens. Kirchner signed decree 812/2005, agreeing to strengthen the Attorney General’s Unit for the Investigation into the AMIA case (UFI AMIA), the Justice Ministry’s AMIA unit, to create an anti-disaster unit, to pay monetary compensation out and to reform the intelligence law, among other things. Incredibly, following Alberto Nisman’s death, the intelligence law was finally reformed.
Why do you think the state has not met most of the points included in the friendly agreement?
Because they were not part of the political agenda. We didn’t want the state to declare its responsibility but rather enact effective measures to get at the truth.
So you would say that the Argentine state had a lukewarm commitment but it did not change its attitude — as Nisman claimed?
No, of course not. The AMIA case was not part of the political agenda, but some other areas it pretended not to see, which is what happened with Nisman for example, although we had filed several reports against him.
Why have you said that Nisman should also have been in the dock for seeking to cover up the AMIA attack?
We’ve always been critical of him, not just after he died. Nisman did nothing to investigate the AMIA attack. He only put some SIDE reports in chronological order that had previously been in the hands of (former judge Juan José) Galeano. We wanted him to travel less and investigate more, but no one listened to our demands.
Did you make formal filings?
Three. One addressed to former attorney general Esteban Righi and two to Attorney General Alejandra Gils Carbó.
Can the lines of investigation followed by Nisman be explained by a reported alignment with the US Republicans?
Yes, an alignment with the US Republican right-wing, but also to profits. I don’t know if he was involved in a money-laundering scheme, but he was responsible for embezzlement. I don’t care about his private life, but it seems he used the money for anything other than investigating the AMIA attack.
Federal Judge Ariel Lijo ordered the defendants to face oral trial between 2011 and 2012. Why did the trial take so long to get started?
Thirteen judges excused themselves from taking part in the proceeding. There are no judges to try other judges or prosecutors. That is how the judicial family works.
What do you think of the new prosecutors who are now in charge of UFI AMIA?
At first we did not want a body of prosecutors (to be in charge of the investigation), but we think they’re willing to investigate. We’ve had bad experiences with prosecutors and judges. For instance, (federal Judge Rodolfo) Canicoba Corral delegated the probe on Nisman, but delegating and getting rid of something are two entirely different things.
Could the 2013 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Iran have helped with the AMIA investigation?
The goal was to question the suspects and to see if the evidence available is useful.
The government has said the judiciary was opposed to the MOU because it got rid of the SIDE’s main line of investigation. Do you agree?
Of course. Their main line was to blame someone who could not be tried in court. That’s why it’s necessary to determine whether the evidence is valid.
How would Memoria Activa cope with the rest of the plaintiff?
With the rest of the relatives, there won’t be any problems. The AMIA and DAIA plaintiffs have demonstrated their lack of commitment by not showing up to any hearing.
So they did not play the same active role as they did in opposing the MOU?
They did — but as defenders of the defendants, Beraja, Galeano and the two prosecutors. It is a brotherhood. If one falls, the rest also do. Look at how Galeano is using the media to be exonerated. He is lying.
He said that he only turned on his camera to record (a payment to Telleldín reportedly to incriminate the BA provincial police officers). He is apparently the only person in the world who records himself committing a crime. It’s also a lie that he paid Telleldín to tell the truth. Telleldín was bribed to lie.
What was your reaction when in the official ceremony outside the AMIA on July 18 it was said that the bullet that killed Nisman also killed the investigation?
That is an insult. The investigation was already dead when Nisman was alive. To say otherwise is scandalous.
Do you agree with the creation of an independent commission to investigate the AMIA case that is being pushed by APEMIA, another group critical of the Jewish leadership?
No. Creating more commissions is creating more worthless tools. Many people have been a burden for the AMIA case over the past 20 years. We have to demand a proper judicial investigation.
The MOU also ordered the creation of a truth commission.
But not here.
Why did you meet with the Supreme Court justices earlier this year?
We requested they hold a trial as soon as possible. We also requested that (Chief Justice Ricardo) Lorenzetti make a public statement. He did all that we requested. I think his role was important to launch the trial.
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