“All signs point to suicide,” said Argentine Security Secretary Sergio Berni following the death of Alberto Nisman, 51, whose body was found overnight in his apartment in the trendy Puerto Madero neighborhood of the capital.
Sure He committed suicide hours before he testified about a case he has been working on for years.
In 2007, Nisman issued a report that blamed Iran and its Hezbollah surrogates. On the basis of that detailed report, and despite fierce Iranian opposition, Interpol issued “red notices”—arrest requests—for five Iranian officials, but the Iranians are still at large.
In 2013, Nisman authored a 500-page report detailing how Tehran has methodically placed terror operatives in several Latin American countries, using Iranian embassies, local mosques and front companies connected with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, to form “intelligence structures” that can strike when needed.
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Last year, an Argentine federal court, backing Nisman, laudably declared unconstitutional the 2013 agreement between Argentina and Iran to establish a joint “truth commission” to investigate the AMIA bombing.
And just last week Nisman filed a lawsuit claiming that President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and Foreign Minister Hector Timerman covered up for former Iranian officials accused of being involved in the deadly attack.
And we are to believe he committed suicide?
Nisman’s announcement last week rocked the country:
Prosecutor, Alberto Nisman, said on Wednesday that Mrs. Kirchner had ordered Foreign Minister Hector Timerman and others to negotiate immunity for Iranian suspects in hopes this would reestablish trade ties and allow Argentina to import Iranian oil to ease a domestic energy crisis. The alleged plan didn’t come to fruition, however.
The complaint will be evaluated by Federal Judge Ariel Lijo, who last year indicted Vice President Amado Boudou on corruption charges. It isn’t clear how that case will evolve. Mr. Boudou has denied the charges.
Meanwhile, Mr. Nisman has asked Judge Lijo to freeze $23 million of assets belonging to Mrs. Kirchner and the others named in the complaint. There was no time frame for a decision to be handed down on whether to proceed with a case against Mrs. Kirchner or the others. Court cases in Argentina can sometimes take many years to resolve.
Mr. Nisman, who has been investigating the bombing for years, said he inadvertently began uncovering evidence of the alleged plot during that investigation.
He said much of the evidence is based on two years of intercepted phone calls between people close to Mrs. Kirchner and others, including Mohsen Rabbani of Iran. Mr. Rabbani, a former cultural attaché at Iran’s embassy in Buenos Aires, is a suspect in the bombing and is the target of an Interpol arrest warrant.
“We don’t have just one piece of evidence for this,” Mr. Nisman said of the alleged conspiracy. “We encountered a great deal of evidence.”
Opposition lawmaker Patricia Bullrich said she was “shocked by Nisman’s death, calling it “a grave affront to the country’s institutions.” Bullrich said she’d spoken to Nisman on the phone on Saturday on three occasions and he said that he had received several threats. Elisa Carrio, leader of the Civic Coalition, an opposition party, bluntly called Nisman’s death “an assassination,” saying she did not accept that it was a suicide.”
Indeed, it was an assassination that is not only a tragedy for the Nisman family, but for the interests of justice.
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