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Argentina court dismisses case against former president for 1995 blast

A federal tribunal in Argentina has ruled that prosecutors cannot proceed with a case alleging former president Carlos Menem [official website, in Spanish] was involved in an explosion at a military weapons factory that destroyed much of the town Rio Tercero in 1995. Prosecutors argued that the explosion was a deliberate attempt to destroy evidence of arms trafficking to Ecuador and Croatia in violation of international embargoes.The blast killed seven people and injured dozens. According to the AP, Argentina's Judicial Authority said that the tribunal dismissed the case [AP report] against 83-year-old Menem on Wednesday due to the lack of sufficient evidence.

In September Menem appeared in court [JURIST report] for allegedly falsifying his 2000 tax returns. In June Argentina's highest criminal court convicted [JURIST report] Menem of selling illegal weapons to Croatia and Ecuador during his presidency. Menem pleaded innocent, claiming that the weapons were intended for Panama and Venezuela but were stolen and sold to parties that violated the country's peace agreements [text, PDF] and the UN embargoes [summary]. In 2011 Menem was also put on trial for crimes committed during his presidency. Menem was indicted [JURIST report] by the Federal Court in 2009 on corruption charges for overpaying members of his administration from 1988 to 1989. In October 2008 an Argentine court charged [JURIST report] Menem with allegedly covering up evidence related to the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires. Menem, born in Argentina to Syrian immigrants, was accused of covering up the alleged involvement of Syrian-Argentine businessman Alberto Kanoore Edul. Numerous members of his administration [JURIST news archive] have also faced a variety of charges over the past decade, but few have been convicted.

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