Ex-Argentine president denies gov't cover-up as report finds Nisman 'murdered'
Juan Mabromata (AFP/File)
Former Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner dismissed as “nonsense” a Thursday report claiming that a joint specialist investigation has concluded that Alberto Nisman, the special prosecutor who investigated the 1994 bombing of a Buenos Aires Jewish community center allegedly ordered by Iran, did not commit suicide as has been stated by the defense.
The Spanish-language report by news site Infobae, which has not been confirmed by Argentine officials, said that a team of 28 experts in various fields including ballistics and psychology leading the official investigation into Nisman’s mysterious death had categorically concluded that Nisman was murdered by a gunshot to the head and that the perpetrator(s) subsequently attempted to obscure evidence at the scene.
In an atypical move ahead of congressional elections in October, and after years avoiding the Argentine press, Kirchner gave a rare interview to Infobae during which she spoke of the case as well as accusations that her government was involved in Nisman’s death.
"It is nonsense, everyone knows it is nonsense," Kirchner said, when asked about accusations of an alleged government cover-up of the murder put forth by journalists such as i24NEWS’ Damian Pachter, who first broke the story of Nisman's death as a staff writer for the Buenos Aires Herald.
Pachter was eventually forced to flee Argentina following suspicious surveillance against him.
“It seems to me that it is an accusation without any foundation and I believe that [even] those who actually formulate it don't believe it," Kirchner said.
"We did not really have any reason. It was triggered in a way, we [didn't have] long months. It was a very impressive maelstrom," she said, calling the allegations against her government "without head and shoulders."
- In cold blood –
The Infobae report, published by journalist Roman Lejtman, described the findings of the group of experts which are to be compiled in a final report and presented to the attorney leading the case, Eduardo Taiano, in the coming weeks.
According to Lejtman’s description of the findings, "the attorney [Nisman] was murdered with a gunshot in his head, which was attempted to be covered up by modifying the crime scene in order to simulate an alleged suicide triggered by an eventual mental crisis.”
Previously revealed evidence, such as the absence of gunpowder on Nisman’s hands and lack of suspicious fingerprint patterns in the bathroom where his body was discovered, have seemed to shore up the murder hypothesis.
New evidence has also strengthened suspicions of foul play, including the ‘sudden’ appearance of blows to Nisman’s leg and head, as well as a review of an old toxicology report which found traces of Ketamine -- commonly used as an anesthetic -- in Nisman’s body suggesting he was drugged sometime before his death.
Additional judicial and expert sources cited by journalist Daniel Santoro in a report for the Argentine new site Clarín, have suggested that Nisman was killed by at least two people and that the position in which his body was found "is absolutely incompatible with the natural fall of someone who committed suicide.”
However, an official press release issued by the Argentine Coast Guard, the armed force in charge of evidence analysis in the investigation, stated that the findings detailed by Infobae were not final.
“The Directorate of Criminalistics and Forensic Studies of the Institution did not produce any conclusive final report within the framework of the interdisciplinary board regarding the expertise of the so-called 'Nisman Case',” the statement reads.
The press release did not, however, specifically deny their reported conclusion regarding the manner of Nisman’s death, which came hours before he was scheduled to appear before a congressional hearing on investigations into Kirchner.
Nisman had charged that Kirchner’s formation of a “truth commission” with Iran to jointly investigate Argentine Jewish Charities Federation (AMIA) bombing, which left 85 people dead, was intended to help get INTERPOL warrants against five Iranian suspects dropped as a step towards normalizing relations between the two countries.
What many still find difficult to reconcile is the timeline between the publication of Nisman's accusations against Kirchner and his mysterious and untimely death.
Nisman's filing an indictment against Kirchner on January 14, 2015 exposed an alleged Iranian network operating a diplomatic back channel with government officials through middle-men.
A mere 96 hours later, Nisman was dead.
Damian Pachter is i24NEWS's Latin America correspondent and a research fellow at the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace. Follow him on Twitter.
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i hope the world is watching the subjugation and genocde against the Igbos(Biafra) by the Nigerian government. Please the world must do something urgently to avoid another Rwanda.
K conspired w Iran to kill Nisman.