Page last updated at 16:51 GMT, Friday, 14 November 2008

Menem faces court over bomb probe

By Daniel Schweimler
BBC News, Buenos Aires

Carlos Menem, 1999 file photo
Carlos Menem was president of Argentina from 1989 to 1999

Carlos Menem, president of Argentina from 1989 to 1999, has been ordered to appear in court in December.

He is accused of obstructing an inquiry into a car-bomb attack on the Jewish cultural centre in Buenos Aires in July 1994. He denies the allegations.

The attack claimed 85 lives and wounded more than 200 people. No-one has been convicted in connection with it.

Mr Menem, whose lawyers say he is too ill to appear in court, is meanwhile being tried in an unrelated case.

The former president, his brother Munir and several former leading intelligence and police officers stand accused of obstructing the investigation into the attack. None has been convicted.

Shortly after the bombing, police were planning to raid the house of a friend of Mr Menem, Alberto Kanoore Edul, and his son, also Alberto.

But that day, Mr Edul was seen visiting the presidential palace. The raid was called off and the investigation into Mr Edul aborted. His whereabouts are still unknown.

Some former policemen were later falsely accused of carrying out the attack. Attention later turned to senior officials in the then-Iranian government.

The first judge to investigate the attack was pulled off the case and later prosecuted.

Despite strong pressure from the large Argentine and the world Jewish communities, no-one has been convicted for what is the worst terror attack in Argentine history.

Mr Menem currently stands accused of illegally selling weapons to Croatia and Ecuador.

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