Scene of attack at AMIA building (Archives)
The Argentinean daily Clarin reported Saturday that Claudio Lifschitz, a former investigator of the 1994 bombing of the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, claimed he was kidnapped and tortured by elements trying to coerce him into disclosing documents related to the case.
The attack on the Argentine-Israel Mutual Association (AMIA) building, which was carried out with an explosives-laden truck, left 85 people dead and hundreds wounded. Following a lengthy investigation, in March 2007 Interpol issued arrest warrants for five Iranians and a Lebanese national it suspects were behind the attack.
Tehran has repeatedly denied any link to the bombing, and thus far no one has been indicted for either orchestrating or perpetrating the attack. Israel, the US and Argentina continue to argue that Hizbullah was behind the act, and also blame Iran, which supports the Lebanese Shiite group.
In 2008 Lifschitz, the former adjunct secretary to the judge who headed the AMIA bombing investigation, Juan José Galeano, reported to the Argentinean congress of alleged irregularities in the probe – which eventually led to its collapse.
Lifschitz's attorney told the C5N television station that on Friday night, at around midnight, a passing car forced his client to pull over in Buenos Aires' Villa Devoto neighborhood. He was then whisked away by unknown assailants, the attorney said.
According to Lifschitz, the kidnappers covered his head with a garbage bag, and, using a blowtorch, tattooed the case file number on his arm and the letters A-M-I-A on his back.
"A van passed me by and hooded men stepped out of it," he recalled. "They forced me to climb into their vehicle, placed a garbage bag over my head and told me not to mess with SIDE (the Argentinean internal security service). They questioned me a number of times about tapes that tie Iran to the terror attack. They told me 'you can relax, we won't murder you. You'll live until we decide otherwise'."
After taking away his cell phone, the assailants released Lifschitz near the police academy building in the capital.