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He was widely honored for his work as a journalist and publisher. In Israel, Timerman wrote and published his most well-known book, Prisoner Without A Name, Cell Without a Number , a memoir of his prison experience that added to his international reputation. Timerman returned to Argentina in , [2] and testified to the National Commission on the Disappearance of Persons. He continued to write, publishing books in about Chile under the Augusto Pinochet regime and in about Cuba under Fidel Castro. The family lived in the Jewish area of Buenos Aires , restricted by their poverty to occupying a single room.

Timerman became a Zionist as a young man. He met his future wife, Risha Mindlin, [7] at a Zionist conference in Mendoza. Her surname has also been reported as Midlin. Timerman gained work as a journalist and rose in his profession, reporting for various publications including the Agence France-Presse , [8] Mail, What, News Charts, New Zion, and Commentary.

In , Timerman founded Primera Plana , an Argentine news-weekly often compared to the American publication, Time magazine. The magazine announced Timerman's resignation the week after it had reported on government threats to sanction uncooperative publications. In , he founded another news weekly titled Confirmado The Journal.

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The Armed Forces seized power in , overthrowing president Arturo Illia. His administration was characterized by its violent repression of Argentina's universities and intellectuals, and for its policy of establishing strict and conservative Catholic morals. His model was the French newspaper, Le Monde. But Timerman was one of numerous people targeted in the 20 attempted bombings. His death in raised uncertainty and political tensions. Isabel Peron succeeded him, becoming the first woman president in the Western Hemisphere.

During the political unrest that year, Timerman received bomb threats by the Argentine Anti-Communist Alliance also called the Triple A.

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Under his leadership, this paper reported news and criticisms of the human rights violations of the Argentine government, into the early years of the Dirty War. One wealthy backer of the paper was David Graiver , a Jewish businessman said to have ties to the leftist guerrilla group known as Montoneros , which was banned. The publisher reported against both left-wing and right-wing terrorism. Some commentators have suggested that he supported a military coup to quell the violence. One morning two letters arrived in the same mail: one was from the rightist terrorist organization protected and utilized by paramilitary groups condemning me to death because of its belief that my militancy on behalf of the right to trial for anyone arrested and my battle for human rights were hindrances in overthrowing communism; the other letter was from the terrorist Trotskyite group, Ejercito Revolucionario Popular ERP —the Popular Revolutionary Army—and indicated that if I continued accusing leftist revolutionaries of being Fascists and referring to them as the lunatic Left, I would be tried and most likely sentenced to death.

Timerman maintained his outspoken support for Israel.


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A coup in installed General Jorge Rafael Videla and began " el Proceso "— military rule, including widespread persecution that came to be known as Argentina's " Dirty War ". Timerman like many others had initially supported a military takeover, on the grounds that it might curb the country's pervasive violence. Anti-semitism increased during the s as right-wing factions became more powerful. Jews were targeted in the media, including television stations operated by the government. A book called Plan Andinia , published anonymously in , warned of an international Zionist conspiracy to control part of Argentina.

Anti-semitic bombings also increased, to a frequency of ten per month in At the beginning of April, the military began to arrest people connected to the Argentine banker David Graiver , who had left the country in and was reported killed in a plane accident in Mexico in He had been under suspicion of financing the left-wing Montoneros guerrillas through money laundering of millions of dollars derived from their kidnapping ransoms.

Reports suggest that between and people were arrested under this charge. Before dawn on 15 April , military police in civilian clothes appeared at Timerman's house and took him into custody.

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Enrique Jara, assistant editor of La Opinion , was also arrested. Timerman later testified: [31]. After arresting me at my home in the federal capital, they took me to the police headquarters of Buenos Aires Province where I was interrogated by Camps and Etchecolatz ; from there they transferred me to Campo de Mayo, where they made me sign a statement. Then they left me at Puesto Vasco, where I was tortured, after which I was again turned over to the Central Department of the Federal Police, where after 25 days I was able to get in touch with my family.

Ultimately, I was legally interned at the Magdalena penitentiary. Timerman wrote later that he was arrested by "the extremist sector of the army", which "was also the heart of Nazi operations in Argentina". Timerman was acquitted by a military court in October The military continued to accuse him of "failure to observe basic moral principles in the exercise of public, political, or union offices".

He asked why he was being held. The minister said: "You admitted to being a Zionist , and this point was revealed at a meeting of all the generals.

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The Minister replied: "No, it isn't forbidden, but on the other hand it isn't a clearcut issue. Besides, you admitted to it. And the generals are aware of this. Timerman became the single most famous Argentine political prisoner of the Dirty War. Herald editor Robert Cox was later arrested and imprisoned. Authorities among the Jewish community in Argentina were notably quiet about Timerman's arrest. I remember once I had a two-hour-long meeting with the executive board of the DAIA to ask it to undertake some kind of action in defense of my brother.

But it was useless. In April , the DAIA finally issued a statement approving the government's shift of Timerman from prison to house arrest. The reluctance of the Jewish establishment in Argentina to defend Timerman added to Israel's difficulties in choosing a way to respond to the political crisis in the country. The Israeli government maintained diplomatic ties and arms sales to the Argentine regime during this period. Appeals from the Argentine Jewish community, which was disproportionately targeted in the Dirty War , were generally ignored by the Israeli government.

The Knesset prohibited discussion on this topic. Yet Timerman's high-profile arrest, particularly in light of his known Zionist affiliations, elicited a diplomatic response from Israel. According to historian Raanan Rein and journalist Efraim Davidi,. The Israeli government secretly pressured Argentina to free Timerman, but did not make public demands as it did on behalf of Jews in the Soviet Union. Yishayahu Anug , director-general of Israel's Foreign Ministry, wrote:. It is not an emotional issue but one of cool judgment.

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The formula consists in creating the sense that his release is vital for Argentina's image and also for Israel and the positive development of our relations with them. As part of this approach, Israeli diplomats sought to downplay press coverage of Timerman's imprisonment. Nirgad asked Timerman to sign a letter saying that he was well treated and had no problems with the government. The journalist refused and said he'd rather remain in detention. After the failure of Nirgad's initial efforts to achieve Timerman's release, through conversations with Videla and others, Israel sought to add pressure by proxy.

Anug's new plan solicited the quiet assistance of anti-communist diplomats and authors in other nations. Not much progress had been made before Timerman was released in Silvio O. Conte of Massachusetts visited Timerman in early , subsequently calling for his release and characterizing his imprisonment as a human rights issue.

As part of a broad change in foreign policy based around human rights, the United States Carter Administration in had condemned Argentina's activities. In doing so, it reversed the position of the preceding Nixon Administration , which had supported the military coup. While Timerman was still detained under house arrest in , Patricia Derian , the US Secretary for Human Rights, reported that the Argentine human rights situation had improved.


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These included Chris Dodd , John H. Several commentators have credited the Timerman case and his memoir with raising awareness of human rights abuses in South America with an otherwise apathetic United States audience. The Soviet Union also maintained ties with Argentina's government during this period, and the nations had trade relations. The government sought to engineer a win for its team by any means necessary. Timerman later said that Argentine dissidents all rooted for the Dutch football team, out of appreciation for the Netherlands' efforts to counteract the regime's self-promotion.

On 19 September , the Argentine Supreme Court of Justice responded to a habeas corpus petition and ordered Timerman's immediate release. On 20 September, the government held a large secret meeting to decide its response. Some military leaders wanted to disobey the ruling, but President Videla and others threatened resignation, insisting on Timerman's release. His Argentine citizenship was revoked, and he was placed on a flight to Madrid, en route to Israel. I've never seen him before. He's accompanied by the police chief of the zone in which my house is located.

He says he's going to move me elsewhere, where I'm to sign some papers.

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