January 17, 2018
It is difficult to expose the truth and seek justice when there is no trust in the legal system and there’s a lack of judicial independence facilitating impunity. Argentinian prosecutor Alberto Nisman fought against all odds and was murdered in his quest for justice.
In 1997, Nisman became involved in the investigation of the 1994 AMIA bombing—the deadliest terror attack in the Western Hemisphere prior to 9/11—and worked under two other prosecutors who were already handling the case. The trial began years later, but the investigation, headed by federal judge Juan Jose Galeano, was plagued with irregularities: Galeano bribed a suspect with $400,000 to testify against other officers under investigation, former president Carlos Menem endorsed that bribe in what appeared to be an attempt to humiliate the governor of Buenos Aires who was a political adversary, and the role of the local police facilitating the attack was overlooked. The absurdities in the case continued and the AMIA case became one of the most high profile investigations in modern Argentinian history.
The case collapsed, and its handling became a national embarrassment. But, a year later, Nisman was appointed to lead a new AMIA investigative unit and by 2007 he charged several top Iranian officials, including former President Ali Akbar Rafsanjani as well as Hezbollah leaders, for carrying out the attack. Interpol issued “red notices,” which are similar to arrest warrants. Iran, not surprisingly, refused to extradite the suspects, denied its role in the terror attack, and ignored Interpol’s red notices.