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Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 September, 2003, 22:44 GMT 23:44 UK
Argentine bomb police 'to testify'

By Elliott Gotkine
BBC correspondent in Buenos Aires

The Argentine president is to order the secret service to testify in a court case over the 1994 bombing of a Jewish centre in Buenos Aires, the BBC has been told.

The lawyer representing victims of the bombing told the BBC that President Nestor Kirchner was to sign a decree forcing the country's secret police to appear in court.

The aftermath of the 1994 bombing of a Jewish centre in Buenos Aires

Separately, an Argentine newspaper has revealed that a former cultural attache to the country's embassy in Iran is being investigated in connection with the bombing.

The bombing of the Jewish Mutual Aid Association (Amia) in 1994 killed 85 and left more than 200 people injured.

Members of Argentina's National Intelligence Service - while not directly implicated in the attack - have long been accused of deliberately misleading the investigation.

Menem connection

Now they will have to account for their actions in court.

Many suspect that Carlos Menem, who was Argentina's president at the time, was also involved.

Argentina's leading newspaper, Clarin, says prosecutors are now looking into his relationship with a former cultural attache to the Argentine Embassy in Iran.

Carlos Lelli is being investigated amid allegations he was the intermediary used by Mr Menem when he allegedly received $10 million from Iran, in exchange for not accusing the Islamic Republic of the Amia bombing.

But Mr Lelli will not be testifying. He died in a car crash in August 2000, just two months after a former Iranian intelligence official made the $10 million claim.

Iran ex-diplomat freed on bail
12 Sep 03  |  Americas
Argentina scraps amnesty laws
21 Aug 03  |  Americas
Iran cuts ties with Argentina
23 Aug 03  |  Americas
Argentina to open bomb files
06 Jun 03  |  Americas
Menem probe to speed up
13 Jun 03  |  Americas

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