Argentina judge declares former Iranian president 'fugitive'

[JURIST] Argentinean judge Rodolfo Canicoba Corral declared former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani [official website, in Persian; BBC profile] and eight other Iranian officials fugitives from justice on Friday. The nine failed to respond to arrest warrants [JURIST report] issued in Argentina in November for their alleged roles the AMIA Jewish cultural center bombing [Wikipedia backgrounder, BBC report] that killed 85 people and wounded over 200 more in Buenos Aries in 1994. Chief prosecutor Alberto Nisman has said that Iranian officials authorized the bombing [JURIST report] while members of Hezbollah [BBC backgrounder] actually carried out the attack. Canicoba Corral has assigned the state public defender's office to represent the accused.

Iran has repeatedly denied playing a role [BBC report] in the bombing's planning and execution, and responded to Argentina's issuance of arrest warrants by requesting the issuance of its own arrest warrants [JURIST report] for those investigating the bombing. Iranian prosecutor Dorri-Najafabadi said he wants those involved in the case arrested because "making propaganda against Iran is a crime" and he plans to seek "spiritual and financial compensation" [Reuters report] for their "conspiracy against the Iranian nation." Argentina, home to more Jewish people than any other Latin American nation, has yet to convict anyone in connection to the 1994 attack or the attack two years prior that destroyed the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires and killed 29 people. Rafsanjani was president of Iran from 1989 to 1997, and he is now the head of the Expediency Council [Global Security backgrounder], which serves as a mediator between Iran's parliament and clerics, who can block legislation. AP has more.

 

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