Newspaper publisher Jacobo Timerman, whose detention became a symbol of human rights violations here and a major issue in U.S.-Argentine relations, was released yesterday after a year of detention for unspecificed "economic crimes."
Timerman was escorted to his apartment in central Buenos Aires by four police cars, two police motorcycles and a troop carrier filled with at least 20 paramilitary policement armed with machine guns.
He was met at home by his wife, Rische, and son, Hector. His rabbi, Marshall T. Meyer, recited a traditional Jewish blessing of thanksgiving for Timerman's safety.
"It was a very emotional arrival," Rabbi Meyer said in a telephone interview. Timerman will remain under house arrest while his financial affairs are examined by a committee appointed by Argentina's military junta.
It is expected that Timerman will eventually be allowed to leave Argentina for Israel, where he has indicated he wants to go.
Timerman's release from a prison cell to the comfort of his luxurious apartment was viewed with satisfaction by the U.S. Embassy.
"There has been a lot of interest in his situation in the United States" the embassy said in an official statement.
"We believe his transfer to house arrest will regarded as an encouraging development. We regard it as encouraging, too."
Timerman founded and sered as publisher of the widely respected newspaper, La Opinion, until his arrest April 15 of last year. The Argentine government is now in editorial and financial control of the paper.
No one here believes that Timerman will be offered an opportunity to resume there is speculation that the government may offer him some compensation for his approximately 45 percent interest in the paper.
Most of the rest of La Opinion's stock - 51 percent - was owned by David Graiver, whom Argentine authorities believe served secretly as investment banker for leftist groups that kidnaped wealthy executives for ransom before the military seized control of Argentina in March, 1976.
It was Timerman's association with Graiver - who was indicted last week in New york City for violating banking laws there - that was ostensibly the reason for the publisher's arrest.
Other observers here believe that Timerman was arrested because of his liberal political views, which some segments of the military blame for fostering the economic chaos and terrorism that characterized the last days of Isabel Person's government before the coup that overthrew her.
Other observers see Timerman's arrest even afterma military tribunal cleared him of financial links tho the terrorists late last year - as evidence of anti-semitism within the armed forces.
Timerman's arrest became a symbol for human righos groups and for the Carter administration of the Argentine military government's campaign against terrorism and subversion.
Since the military took over two years ago, it has pursued a campaign against leftist guerrillas during which thousands of persons have been killed, jailed without charges, forced to leave the country mr simply have disappeared. Human rights organizamions have kharged that military and paramilitary groups vave kelled or jailed many people who were only indirectly linked - if at all - with the leftists.
Some observers here believe that Timerman's release indicates that the more moderate segments of the armed forces are gaining ascendency over more-hard line elements.