Former Argentine FM released from house arrest

Hector Timerman is accused of covering up Iranian involvement in the deadly 1994 AMIA bombing.

Arutz Sheva Staff,

Hector Timerman
Hector Timerman
Reuters

Former Argentine foreign minister Hector Timerman, who is being treated for cancer, was released from house arrest Wednesday, the official Telam news agency reported.

The prosecution had previously rejected his request for release, but substitute judge Sergio Torres granted his release "on humanitarian grounds," the agency said.

Timerman was earlier prevented from boarding a flight to the United States late Tuesday after his visa was rejected.

Timerman was a member of ex-president Cristina Kirchner's government from 2010-2015 and was placed under house arrest in December after being accused of covering up Iranian involvement in the deadly 1994 bombing of a Buenos Aires Jewish center.

Former Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman had drafted arrest warrants for Kirchner and Timerman in connection with the cover-up, but was found dead before he could file them.

Several weeks ago, a judge ruled that Nisman was murdered and did not commit suicide.

As for Timerman, the 64-year-old former minister had obtained a permit from Argentina's justice ministry to travel to New York for treatment for cancer, which has confined him to a wheelchair.

According to Argentine press reports, when his visa was checked at Buenos Aires' Ezeiza airport late Tuesday he was prevented from boarding the flight.

Kirchner's parliamentary group reacted angrily to the incident.

"Timerman cannot enter the United States because his visa was revoked because of the preventive detention," the head of the bloc, Agustin Rossi wrote on Twitter.

He said Claudio Bonadio, the judge prosecuting Timerman, Kirchner and others for the alleged cover-up, was responsible.

Timerman was sentenced to house arrest rather than jail because of his health. Kirchner herself enjoys parliamentary immunity from preventive detention through her senate seat.

Bonadio believes Timerman, Kirchner and others covered up alleged Iranian involvement in the bombing by pushing for the signing of a pact with Iran, under which suspects could be questioned in Iran and not brought to Argentina.

The plan was formally approved by both houses of the Argentine Congress, but never ratified by Iran.

Leaders of Argentina's Jewish community, which at 300,000 people is the largest in Latin America, criticized the accord. An Argentine court in 2014 declared the agreement to be unconstitutional.

Timerman, who himself is Jewish, in 2015 quit his membership in AMIA, the Jewish organization which was targeted by the 1994 bombing.

AFP contributed to this report.




top