BUENOS AIRES—Argentinian prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who died hours before he was due to testify against former president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner in a cover up case of Iranian involvement in a deadly bombing against a Jewish center, was murdered, a federal judge has found.
Nisman died from a gunshot wound in his Buenos Aires apartment in January 2015.
He had been due to testify the next day that Fernández de Kirchner covered up alleged Iranian involvement in the bombing of the AMIA (Argentine Israelite Mutual Association) Jewish center in the Argentinian capital which killed 85 people and wounded hundreds more on July 18,1994, the worst terrorist attack in the country’s history. Nisman was at the time in charge of the investigation into this bombing.
A vehicle packed with explosives plowed into the AMIA building in downtown Buenos Aires. No one has been convicted for the atrocity, and it was not until Nisman took over the investigation in 2005 that Interpol, the global law enforcement agency, eventually issued warrants known as “Red Notices” for five Iranian and Hezbollah operatives in connection with the bombing.
An official investigation at the time had ruled that the prosecutor took his own life.
But federal judge Julian Ercolini said in a 656-page ruling that Nisman’s gunshot wound could not have been self-inflicted. The judge also charged a former aide to the prosecutor, Diego Lagomarsino, as an accessory to murder.
Lagomarsino was the last person in Nisman’s apartment and the bullet that killed the prosecutor was fired by Lagomarsino’s gun, the judge said.
The aide, an IT security expert, said Mr Nisman asked him for his gun, because he was afraid for his safety, and he gave it over. He denies any involvement in the death.
Nisman alleged that Fernandez and her Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman worked to cover up alleged Iranian state involvement in the bombing in order to protect a trade deal between the two countries.
Fernández, now a member of the Argentinian Senate, was indicted for treason earlier this month over the alleged corruption. She denies the allegations, calling them “absurd”. That was the consequence of a separate investigation into the substance of Nisman’s claims about her government’s collusion with Iran, headed by federal judge Claudio Bonadio. Bonadio has asked Argentina’s Senate to lift Kirchner’s immunity from prosecution.
Kirchner was in office for almost a year following Nisman’s murder, before she was defeated in national elections by current President Mauricio Macri in November 2015.