Late Argentine prosecutor drafted arrest warrant for President Kirchner

New revelations indicate that Alberto Nisman, the Argetine prosecutor who was found dead from a gunshot wound in his apartment on Jan. 18, had been drafting a warrant for the arrest of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.

A lead investigator said that Nisman had accused Kirchner of secretly negotiating with Iran to avoid punishments for those behind the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center in Buenos Aires, and of trying to shield Iranian leaders from responsibility in the attack, the New York Times has reported.

The bombing of the Argentine-Israeli Mutual Association (AMIA) in Buenos Aires killed 85 people and injured 300. Iran and Hezbollah have long been suspected of carrying out the attack. In 2013, Nisman, who had been investigating the bombing after Iran and Argentina reached a widely criticized deal to establish a joint “truth commission” to investigate the attack, released an indictment blaming Iran and Hezbollah for the bombing. 

Then, just days before Nisman was going to testify on his findings, he was discovered dead in his apartment’s bathroom with a handgun laying next to his body, a scenario that appeared to be suicide. 

But the Argentine official investigating Nisman's death Viviana Fein said on Monday that the bullet entered Nisman's head behind his ear, and not through his temple as previously reported, which makes it less likely that the prosecutor shot himself.

The 26-page draft of the warrant was discovered in the garbage of Nisman’s apartment this week, reported Clarin (the largest newspaper in Argentina) on Sunday. The warrant also reportedly asked for the arrest of Argentine foreign minister Héctor Timerman, whom Nisman had accused in the past of ordering the protection of the Iranians in exchange for securing closer ties with Iran for oil and weapons deals. 

Had the warrant been issued before Nisman's death, “it would have provoked a crisis without precedents in Argentina,” said political analyst Sergio Berensztein. “It would have been a scandal on a level previously unseen,” he added.

The 1994 AMIA Jewish center bombing in Buenos Aires. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Dr. Ely Karmon, a senior research fellow at the Institute for Policy and Strategy at The Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, and someone who personally knew Nisman, said in a interview with the English-language Israeli station TLV1 Radio that when the 1994 bombing took place, Argentine “police and security intelligence services were not prepared, and at that time not knowledgeable” about the activities of terror groups like Hezbollah in the country.

“There was [also] a lot of corruption in the ranks of the police… and the first judge who was responsible for the investigation” was accused of not investigating thoroughly enough, and “he was even put on trial because of this kind of complicity,” said Karmon. 

Prior to the recent revelation, in response to the accusations against her, President Kirchner had written a lengthy Facebook post accusing Nisman of "sidetracking" the two-decade investigation into the bombing and linking him with the allegations against the same judge who originally investigated the bombing.

Later, Kirchner posted another message, after apparently changing her position on the death, that Nisman’s death was “the suicide that [I am convinced] was not a suicide."

The probe into the bombing has been “a very complicated investigation, with a lot of political and internal implications for Argentina for all of these 20 years,” said Karmon, adding that he is “absolutely sure that [Nisman] did not commit suicide.”

Kirchner, who is currently visiting China, has so far refrained from commenting on the new revelation on the warrant for her arrest.

Posted on February 3, 2015 .