The death of investigative judge Alberto Nisman is a tragedy.
Whether he committed suicide or was ‘induced’ to kill himself is something that frankly Argentine investigators may never fully discover.
Argentines have responded to the death by demanding an end to impunity – a widespread belief that its judicial institutions simply cannot hold the powerful accountable.
Nisman, for the past decade, had been investigating the 1994 terrorist attack on the Jewish cultural center, known locally by its acronym AMIA. Nissan was a bulldog. He was convinced that agents of Hezbollah carried it out, and that Iran aided and abetted. He even had arrest warrants issued for a number of Iranian officials. Last week Nisman accused Argentina’s president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, her Foreign Minister Hector Timerman, and others of conspiring to fabricate evidence to exonerate the accused Iranians. Further, Argentina would send grain and foodstuffs to Iran in return for oil. The negotiations allegedly were initiated in 2011 in Aleppo, Syria in a meeting between Timerman and an Iranian diplomat. Fernandez and Timerman have denied the allegations.
Nisman was set to testify this past Monday, but died the afternoon before in strange circumstances.
It all stinks.
And again, learning the truth about the AMIA attack is thwarted. It is disgraceful.
It has been equally striking to watch President Cristina lurch from side to side. She initially declared the death a suicide – via social media – and then the following day reversed tack, saying Nisman was killed and was a pawn in a conspiracy to bring down her own government.
Prominent journalist Jorge Lanata criticized the president’s behavior and conflicting statements, likening it to something one would say at a pub and unbecoming of a sitting president.
Two of her key advisers – Aníbal Fernandez and Jorge Capitanich – have both demured when asked their views on the death, replying that that is for the investigators to determine.
Sad on so many fronts. Still no justice for the AMIA. And the decline of the Kirchner era seems to be in its death throes.