Latin America & Caribbean

Remains of Menem Jr exhumed amid murder claims in Argentina

Argentine President Carlos Menem (L) with his son Carlos Facundo (1993 file photo) Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption This picture shows Carlos Menem and his son in 1993, two years before the helicopter crash

The remains of the son of the former Argentine President, Carlos Menem, have been exhumed, 22 years after he died in a helicopter crash.

A judge ordered the exhumation as part of a new investigation into the cause of his death.

Carlos Saúl Facundo Menem, known in Argentina as Carlitos or Menem Jr, died when the helicopter he was flying crashed into high-voltage cables.

His mother Zulema Yoma said he was the victim of a terrorist attack.

She believes he was shot in the head and the body in his grave may have been swapped to hide evidence of a bullet wound. He was 26 when he died on 15 March 1995.

Forensic experts will carry out new DNA tests in the remains exhumed on Wednesday morning from the San Justo Islamic Cemetery in Buenos Aires province.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The crash happened near the town of Ramallo in Buenos Aires province

For many years, his father backed the official finding that the death was accidental.

But several years ago he accused the Lebanese Shia Islamist group, Hezbollah, of killing his son.

Mr Menem said the he could not have revealed the information before because it was a state secret.

Hezbollah was under investigation after prosecutors accused it of carrying out a deadly bomb attack in 1994 against a Jewish centre in Buenos Aires.

The bombing of the cultural centre run by the Israeli-Argentine Mutual Association (Amia) in central Buenos Aires killed 85 people and injured many more.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption The car bomb explosion destroyed the seven-storey building in the centre of Buenos Aires

Argentine courts blamed Iran for planning and financing the attack and its ally, Hezbollah, of carrying it out.

Tehran has always denied any involvement.

Mr Menem said his son's death was aimed at intimidating him to halt the investigation.

But he was formally accused of obstructing the investigations in a trial that opened two years ago.

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