February 26, 2016
Former Argentine lawyer and federal prosecutor, Alberto Nisman, was the victim of murder according to a Criminal Appeals Court Prosecutor Ricardo Sáenz. The declaration is thefirst time [IBT report] a judicial authority has suggested the death as a homicide since the mysterious tragedy. Sáenz recommended that the case be handed to federal authorities and investigated as a murder. The prosecutor wrote that he agreed with the assassination theory[infobae report, in Spanish] that Nisman’s family presented in a complaint to the appeals court in Buenos Aires and that all the evidence points to Nisman’s death as a murder, not a suicide [Reuters report]. Judge and Nisman’s former wife, Sandra Arroyo Salgado, also maintains that the case be handed over to federal authorities in order to fulfill their role as the country’s institution for investigating the suspicious death of a public servant. The court will evaluate Sáenz’s findings on March 18.
Nisman was found dead [JURIST report] in January 2015. He had been appointed to lead the investigation of the 1994 bombing of the Argentinian Mutual Association, a terrorist attack that left 85 dead and injured 300 others. The prosecutor claimed that the then-current administration negotiated with the Iranian government to cover up Iran’s involvement in exchange for oil to ease Argentina’s energy deficit; he was found dead a day before he was scheduled to testify about his accusation. Days after his death had been ruled a suicide, former Argentine president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner said that she was “sure” that the death was not a suicide[JURIST report]. In March an Argentinian appeals court dismissed the charges against Fernandez for conspiring to insulate Iranian officials’ from prosecution over their alleged participation in the 1994 bombing. An appeals court in 1994 ruled that a signed agreement that permitted Argentinian authorities to question Iranian suspects over the 1994 bombing under Interpol arrests warrants, only in Tehran, was unconstitutional.