Buenos Aires, Argentina
Thursday, August 13, 2015
AMIA cover-up trial resumed, Menem again absent
A file picture of former president of Argentina Carlos Saúl Menem involved in the trial into the cover-up of the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center.
The second public hearing in the trial investigating the alleged cover-up of the AMIA bombing began this morning with former president Carlos Saúl Menem allowed to miss court and follow the process via teleconference.
The Federal Criminal Court No. 2 (TOF 2) authorized 87-year-old Menem to stay home and follow the hearing via teleconference following grounds on the senator’s poor health state.
Menem was absent last week, when the trial against him and 12 other defendants started in the Comodoro Py courthouse. Following his absence,the tribunal led by Jorge Gorini ordered a medical doctor to check whether Menem was physically fit to take part in the hearings.
Judicial sources explained to the Herald that as the TOF 2 does not have the results of the medical test, the judges decided to allow Menem to be absent. Today, the TOF 2 will have to explain to the parties why they allowed Menem not to attend the hearings. Other judicial sources speculated that the decision may be temporal and that it would not put Menem’s participation in the trial at risk.
Menem’s lawyer filed a medical certificate before the TOF 2 saying that the former president should be exempted from taking part in the first hearing of the trial as he suffered from diabetes, high blood pressure and sclerosis. The former president is 85 years old and currently holds a seat in the Upper House of Congress.
One of the groups of plaintiffs, Memoria Activa (Active Memory) was considering filing an impeachment request so that he is removed from the Upper House. Senators cannot be arrested or forced to appear before courts. Plaintiffs have accused Menem of seeking to avoid being photographed in the dock along with the other suspects, such as Galeano, former prosecutors José Barbaccia and Eamon Müllen and former DAIA head Rubén Beraja.
Menem is accused of pressing Judge Juan José Galeano to drop the so-called Syrian line of investigation that implicated Alberto Kanoore Edul, an acquaintance of the president. The father of the suspect met with the president on August 1, 1994 — days after the worst-ever terrorist attack suffered by the country — and the head of state reportedly ordered his brother, Munir Menem to phone Galeano to suspend a series of raids targeting Edul.
Menem and his Intelligence chief, Hugo Anzorreguy, are also accused of greenlighting the payment of US$400,000 to one of the AMIA suspects to implicate Buenos Aires provincial police officers in the bombing that killed 85 people. Anzorreguy was hospitalized last week and listened to the first hearing via videoconference from the Otamendi private hospital. According to the state-run news agency, the former State Intelligence Secretariat (SIDE) will be present today.
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