The Slatest

Argentine Prosecutor Found Dead Had Accused President of Bombing Cover-Up

Crowds in Buenos Aires gather to pay tribute to prosecutor Alberto Nisman
A rally at Mayo Square in Buenos Aires on Jan. 19.

Alejandro Pagni/AFP/Getty Images

A prosecutor who spent a decade investigating a 1994 attack on a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires was found dead of a gunshot wound on Sunday, one day before he was set to detail allegations that the president of Argentina covered up Iran’s connection to the bombing in order to secure access to Iranian oil. 

Alberto Nisman was found by his mother and bodyguards on Sunday, killed by a single shot to the head. Nisman was expected to meet with lawmakers on Monday to testify about his belief that President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner had actively concealed Iran’s role in the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish center, which killed 85 people.

The New York Times reports that Kirchner’s political allies are arguing that Nisman took his own life:

Officials in Mrs. Kirchner’s government were quick to assert that Mr. Nisman appeared to have killed himself. The security minister, Sergio Berni, said evidence at the scene, including a .22 caliber pistol and spent cartridge found near Mr. Nisman’s body, indicated suicide… The bullet was almost definitely fired from the Bersa pistol that lay next to his body, according to an unidentified police official quoted by Télam, the state news agency. The government’s national firearms registry also said that Mr. Nisman had two guns registered in his name.

However: The Times cites a number of Nisman’s recent statements indicating that he felt threatened as a result of his work on the case, while the Daily Beast reports that the pistol found with the body was not one of Nisman’s registered weapons. News of Nisman’s death has provoked a number of demonstrations by Argentines skeptical of claims that he committed suicide. As to his investigation itself, Nisman reportedly told an TV interviewer last Wednesday that “with Nisman around or not, the evidence is there.”