Latin America

Argentinean prosecutor says for first time that Nisman was murdered

Investigator was looking into terrorist-bombing cover-up when he was found dead last year

A public rally held for Alberto Nisman earlier this month. EFE

A top federal prosecutor in Argentina has issued a ruling in which he states that his colleague Alberto Nisman, whose body was found in his home in January of last year with a gunshot wound to the head, was the victim of homicide.

Ricardo Sáenz, the chief prosecutor at the Argentina federal judicial chamber, said in a writ that Nisman did not commit suicide – the first time that an official authority has clearly identified the death as a possible murder case.

The inquiry had been stalled for more than a year as investigators could not determine a cause of death.

Nisman had been investigating officials of then-President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s administration for allegedly participating in a cover-up with Iran regarding the 1994 terrorist bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, which left 85 people dead and dozens injured.

Just days before his body was found on January 18, 2015, Nisman had said that he had gathered enough evidence to implicate Fernández de Kirchner administration officials who were reportedly trying to negotiate a grain deal with Iran and he had been expected to testify before Congress.

Until now, no one has been arrested over the terrorist bombing.

The case had become a sensitive during Fernández de Kirchner’s last term in office

But the case has taken a new turn since President Mauricio Macri came to office at the end of last year. Macri had promised to move the investigation forward during his campaign.

Sáenz said the investigation should now be carried out by the Buenos Aires federal chamber, which has jurisdiction in the case.

Legal experts consulted by EL PAÍS in the past few months have said that the crime scene was tampered with as soon as investigators arrived at Nisman’s home, which now makes it almost impossible to determine whether he was killed or committed suicide.

The murder case became a hot political issue during Fernández de Kirchner’s last term in office. Public rallies were held across Buenos Aires demanding that authorities solve the case.

Nisman’s former wife, Sandra Arroyo, had always maintained that the prosecutor was murdered.

The leftist Fernández de Kirchner government had blamed the conservative forces for trying to accuse its officials of a cover-up. Nisman had reportedly drafted an arrest warrant for the former president. 

English version by Martin Delfin.

More information