The recent wave of rulings granting the release of high-ranking Kirchneristas or associates from pre-trial arrest had its latest beneficiary yesterday in Jorge “Yussuf” Khalil, a high-profile member of the Islamic community in Argentina, indicted in the AMIA cover up case.
With this ruling, Khalil joins the former Legal and Technical Secretary during the Kirchner administrations, Carlos Zannini, and former controversial social leader Luis D’Elía, on the list of figures who are also indicted in the case but were recently released.
Khalil had been accused by late Prosecutor Alberto Nisman of being the nexus with the Iranian officials he assured were behind the AMIA bombing. In fact, much of Nisman’s body of evidence rested between a series of wiretapped conversations between Khalil and D’Elía, who, in Nisman’s eyes, was a sort of secret messenger sending missives directly from the President to the highest ranks in Iran’s government. Your can read the issues that were discussed in the conversations and their significance on the case here.
“These past four months [since he was put in pre-trial arrest] have been quite rough, one is not ready for this. I will just say that the treatment received in prison was excellent. There was always contention and the fellow inmates were were excellent with me. Now I have to talk to the lawyers, we are going to be at the judiciary’s disposal, as we have always been. We always behaved in accordance with the law. The decision to imprison us was arbitrary,” Khalil told TN after leaving prison.
The other accused who are also waiting for trial out of prison are former Federal Intelligence Agency (AFI) head Oscar Parrilli, former Deputy Andrés Larroque, former Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman – he was granted house arrest due to his delicate health – and former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner – who is protected by the parliamentary immunity that her post as a Senator grants her.
- Read more: AMIA Cover Up Case: Court of Cassation Confirms Indictment and Pre-Trial Arrest of Cristina Kirchner
The only one still behind bars is former leader of the Quebracho picketer movement, Fernando Esteche. The court dismissed the prosecutor’s request to release him on a AR $ 400,000 bail. All of of them were initially placed behind bars as a result of an order issued by Federal Judge Claudio Bonadio, in charge of investigating Nisman’s accusations.
Now, the case is in the hands of a tribunal tasked with evaluating the investigation and issue a sentence after listening to the testimonies of witnesses and the parties involved. This tribunal decided to release the accused from pre-trial arrest [except Esteche] arguing that since the investigation is already over, and they had been put behind bars due to the possibility that they put obstacles on the investigation using their influences, there were no reasons why they should stay there, as there is no real risk of them fleeing the country to avoid appearing before the court.