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Ex-Argentine President on Trial in Connection with 1994 Bombing


FILE - In this July 18, 1994 file photo, firefighters and rescue workers search through the rubble of the Argentine-Israeli Mutual Association community center, after a car bomb rocked the building in downtown Buenos Aires, Argentina.

FILE - In this July 18, 1994 file photo, firefighters and rescue workers search through the rubble of the Argentine-Israeli Mutual Association community center, after a car bomb rocked the building in downtown Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Former Argentine President Carlos Menem and 12 other people are going on trial Thursday for allegedly conspiring to derail the investigation into the deadly 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center.

Prosecutors allege that Menem and his co-defendants, including his former intelligence chief and a former federal judge, tried to steer prosecutors from linking the bombing of the Argentine Israeli Mutual Association (AIMA) building to a Syrian-born man, Alberto Kanoore Edul, who was suspected of taking part in the attack.

The 85-year-old Menem, who became Argentine president in 1989 and served a decade, is of Syrian descent. Currently serving as a senator in the Argentine legislature, Menem has denied the charges.

No one has ever been arrested or tried for the July 18, 1994 attack in the capital, Buenos Aires, which left 85 people dead when a truck filled with explosives detonated and caused the AIMA building to collapse.

The case is supported by President Cristina Fernandez, who was accused by prosecutor Alberto Nisman of trying to sabotage his investigation of the bombing in order to cover up allegations linking Iran to the crime. Nisman alleged that Fernandez's government helped orchestrate a bargain with Tehran: cash-strapped Argentina would get Iranian oil, Iran would get Argentine grain and meat and the bombing would remain unsolved.

Nisman was found dead in his apartment in January with a gunshot wound to his head, one day before he was scheduled to testify before Argentine lawmakers about his accusations against Fernandez.

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