One year on, Nisman death still roils Argentina’s Jews
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One year on, Nisman death still roils Argentina’s Jews

Mysterious death of prosecutor who claimed Argentina’s president hid Iran role in 1994 bombing, and his explosive case, remain unsolved

Alberto Nisman gives a news conference in Buenos Aires on May 20, 2009. (AFP Photo/Juan Mabromata)
Alberto Nisman gives a news conference in Buenos Aires on May 20, 2009. (AFP Photo/Juan Mabromata)

BUENOS AIRES — A year after Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman’s death, neither his own mysterious demise nor the politically explosive case he was investigating appear any closer to being solved.

Nisman, the lead investigator into the horrific 1994 bombing of a Buenos Aires Jewish center, was found dead in his bathroom on January 18, 2015, a .22-caliber revolver at his side.

He had been due to appear before a congressional hearing the next day to deliver a scathing report that accused then-president Cristina Kirchner of shielding high-ranking Iranian officials from prosecution over the bombing.

A year on, Argentina has turned the page on the Kirchner era with the arrival of conservative President Mauricio Macri.

But both unsolved cases continue to trouble the country, especially its 300,000-member Jewish community, the largest in Latin America.

The July 1994 bombing at the Argentine Jewish Mutual Association (AMIA) remains the deadliest terror strike in the country’s history: it killed 85 people and wounded 300.

After a botched investigation tainted by corruption allegations, Nisman was appointed to lead a new probe.

In 2006, he accused Iran of ordering the attack via Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner waves at supporters while leaving after the inauguration of the 133th period of ordinary sessions at the Congress in Buenos Aires, Argentina on March 1, 2015 (AFP PHOTO / ALEJANDRO PAGNI)
Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner waves at supporters while leaving after the inauguration of the 133th period of ordinary sessions at the Congress in Buenos Aires, Argentina on March 1, 2015 (AFP PHOTO / ALEJANDRO PAGNI)

But his efforts to prosecute five Iranian officials, including former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, were cut short when Kirchner’s administration signed a deal with Iran to set up a Tehran-based joint commission to investigate the attacks.

Nisman accused Kirchner of sealing the deal in exchange for oil and trade benefits, basing his accusations on hundreds of hours of wiretaps.

Kirchner dismissed the allegations as part of a plot by disgruntled intelligence agents to discredit her.

With Argentina heading toward elections, suspicions swirled with Nisman’s death.

Independent investigators hired by his family concluded he was killed, but that version has never been backed up by the official probe.

Newly elected Argentinian President Mauricio Macri visits family of assassinated prosecutor Alberto Nisma at his home on January 17, 2016. (Courtesy)
Newly elected Argentinian President Mauricio Macri visits family of assassinated prosecutor Alberto Nisma at his home on January 17, 2016. (Courtesy)

Macri, a bitter opponent of Kirchner, met with Nisman’s daughters Sunday and vowed to “bring justice in honor of their father’s memory.”

The new president has ordered all documents on Nisman declassified, and set up a special unit to take over the investigation into the 1994 bombing.

The Jewish community has called a candlelight vigil Monday to demand justice for Nisman’s death.

The late prosecutor’s allegations against Kirchner have been repeatedly thrown out by the courts, which found he lacked a case.

The investigation into his death remains open.

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