On Jan. 18, 2015, Alberto Nisman, the special prosecutor who had been in charge of investigating the 1994 bombing against the AMIA Jewish center for more than 10 years, was found dead – a bullet to the head – in his Buenos Aires apartment.
Four days prior to his death, he had accused then President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, her Foreign Minister Hector Timerman and other members of her government of negotiating a pact with the Iranian regime with the goal of getting impunity for the Iranians accused of having perpetrated this heinous terrorist attack. Nisman’s death occurred just hours before his scheduled appearance before the Argentine Congress to expand on his allegations.
The circumstances surrounding his “mysterious” death made it very hard for any honest observer to believe that he had been the victim of anything other than murder. He did not have a suicidal personality, he did not leave a note (something that most suicidal people do), there were no traces of gunpowder on his hands and the location of the bullet clearly indicated that someone else had to have pulled the trigger. And yet, the initial judicial investigation – plagued with shameful irregularities – seemed to confirm the government’s claim that he had committed “suicide.”
Today, almost three and a half years after his death, there is some hope that the truth will finally come out. A Federal Chamber of Appeals has just confirmed the ruling of Justice Julian Ercolini, who – based on a credible forensic investigation by Argentina’s border police had concluded that there was sufficient evidence to establish that Nisman was indeed murdered.
The Chamber also confirmed the indictment of the security guards who were supposed to protect Nisman that night, and of Diego Lagomarsino, Nisman’s IT consultant, as an accessory to murder.
But most importantly, the Chamber concluded that Nisman’s murder was a “direct consequence” of his complaint against the former government and even though it fell short of incriminating Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner (as the attorney representing Nisman’s mother had requested), it called on the judge to investigate the homicide “with the speed and seriousness that such a grave matter imposes.”
This means that, for the first time, the investigation will focus on the obvious: that Nisman was murdered and that he was murdered because of the serious accusations he had made against the government. Now it is time to determine who ordered and executed this terrible crime. Whether the Argentine judiciary is prepared to do so remains to be seen.