In the days since Argentinian prosecutor Alberto Nisman was found dead Saturday from a gunshot to the head, tensions have flared internationally over his mysterious demise and questions abound as to exactly who pulled the trigger. The timing was suspect: Nisman had a congressional appointment the following day to submit evidence against President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner as part of his investigation into the 1994 bombing of a Buenos Aires Jewish Community Center that killed 85 people. Nisman, who had spent years investigating the attack, argued that Kirschner and other high-ranking officials covered up Iran’s connection to the bombing in exchange for oil. Less than a week ago, Nisman released a 300-page report on his findings.
Many theories abound as to who shot Nisman in the head in his apartment, from an Iranian agent to Hezbollah (also complicit in the attacks, according to Nisman’s investigation), to the Argentinian goverment itself.
Prosecutor Viviana Fein, who is investigating the incident, has called it a “suspicious death,” noting that the apartment was locked from the inside, with no signs of forced entry. She also pointed out there was no suicide note, and said it wasn’t certain Nisman had killed himself, allowing for the possibility that he may have been forced to shoot himself.
The Argentinian government, though, seems satisfied with the explanation of Nisman taking his own life. While Kirschner has remained silent on the matter, Presidential Secretary Aníbal Fernández has publicly referred to the death as a suicide, and said he hoped that the evidence was all filed properly before Nisman’s death. Otherwise, some of Nisman’s findings could be lost in future proceedings.
Many Argentinian citizens are dissatisfied with the official rhetoric surrounding Nisman’s death, and have taken to the streets in protest. Thousands of demonstrators gathered in several locations across Argentina, including outside of the Casa Rosada in Buenos Aires, where protestors held signs reading “Yo Soy Nisman,” an incarnation of the now ubiquitous “Je Suis Charlie” catchphrase following the Charlie Hebdo attack. Other signs called the president “Cristina Killer.” Many Argentinians are convinced that if it was in fact a suicide, it was brought about from extreme pressure from the government to bully the prosecutor (Nisman had 10 bodyguards on call).
Indeed, this latest twist in the long unsolved case could come as a relief for some of the accused politicians, though Nisman may have prepared for such an event. He recently expressed that his work “might kill him,” and in a prescient television interview said, “With Nisman around or not, the evidence is there.”