Argentina court dismisses Iran cover-up charges against president
Argentina court dismisses Iran cover-up charges against president

[JURIST] An Argentinian appeals court on Thursday dismissed charges against President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner [BBC profile] for conspiring to insulate Iranian officials’ from prosecution over their alleged participation in the 1994 bombing of a Buenos Aires Jewish community center. The charges were filed by prosecutor Alberto Nisman in January, unveiling an alleged conspiracy headed by Fernandez to clear five high-ranking Iranian suspects of charges that they conducted the 1994 bombing, which killed 85 people. The complaint [text, PDF, Spanish] accused Kirchner [JURIST report] of directing an effort to reduce pressure on Iranians wanted in connection with the bombing in exchange for trade benefits. Four days after Nisman presented his allegations to the court, he was found dead [JURISTS report] in his Buenos Aires apartment with a gunshot wound to the head. In a 2-1 decision [Guardian report], the appeals judges dismissed Nisman’s allegations, but it is likely that the case will be appealed to a higher court. The president has denied the allegations, and Iran denies any involvement in the bombing.

The allegations by Nisman and his subsequent death have created a political fallout for Kirchner’s administration. After the prosecutor’s death, Kirchner declared she is “sure” [JURIST report] that Nisman’s death was not a suicide as initially indicated. An appeals court in Argentina ruled last May that a controversial agreement between Argentina and Iran to investigate the 1994 bombing was unconstitutional [JURIST report]. The two nations signed [JURIST report] the agreement in January 2013, which permitted Argentinian authorities to question the Iranian suspects under Interpol arrest warrants, but only in Tehran. In 2005 Argentina accepted [JURIST report] formal responsibility for its failure to discover who was behind the 1994 bombing.