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Alberto Nisman Was Murdered, Says Argentine Prosecutor

The prosecutor's opinion flies in the face of the suicide hypothesis that has dominated the probe into Nisman's death in January 2015, days after he had accused the then president of covering up for Iran in the bombing of a Jewish center.

by Gaston Cavanagh
Feb 25 2016, 11:05pm

Imagen por Cezaro de Luca/EPA

A prosecutor investigating the mysterious death last year of Alberto Nisman — four days after he accused then president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of covering up for Iran in the bombing of a Jewish center in 1994 — has said he is sure it was murder.

"There is no doubt that it was not Alberto Nisman who fired the gun that killed him," Ricardo Sáenz wrote in a recommendation to the Buenos Aires Criminal Appeals Court. "This leads to the conclusion that it was murder."

This is the first time that an official has described Nisman's death as a homicide. It comes in the context of multiple promises made by Argentina's new president, Mauricio Macri, to get to the truth of what happened.

Related: Video Shows Shoddy and Shady Investigation Tainted Evidence After Argentine Prosecutor Nisman's Death

Nisman who was found dead lying in a pool of blood in his bathroom with a shot to the head on January 18, 2015.

The following day he was due to go before the Argentine congress to explain his earlier accusations against President Fernández, and other high government officials, regarding the 1994 bombing of a Jewish cultural center in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people.

Three days before his death he had told VICE News that he was anxious for the chance to explain why he believed the officials had covered up the involvement of seven Iranians implicated in the bombing in exchange for favorable trade deals.

Watch the Vice News Documentary: Who Killed Alberto Nisman

Fernández later said that Nisman had been duped into believing the allegations by a former Argentine spy chief who wanted to destabilize her government. She hinted that the spy could be behind his death as well.

Related: The Secret Deal at the Heart of the Nisman Accusations Against Argentina's Government: Fact or Fiction?

The initial investigation, carried out during the final year of the Fernández administration, appeared set to conclude that Nisman had killed himself. Many in Argentina are deeply skeptical of this hypothesis. 

Sáenz's categorical opinion that he was murdered, and that the case should be transferred to the federal authorities, is not based on any new evidence.

Instead his recommendation stresses that there were no traces of gunpowder found on Nisman's hands. He also highlighted that there was nothing to indicate that the prosecutor — who was said to have been in a generally optimistic mood in the days before his death — was suffering from any kind of psychological problem that could generate acute depression or anxiety.

Saenz also said that the role of Diego Lagomarsino, a computer technician who worked in the same office and has admitted to providing the prosecutor with the weapon used to kill him, has not been properly investigated. He described Lagomarsino's version of having given the gun to Nisman for his personal protection as having "little credibility."

Sáenz was one of a group of Argentine prosecutors who organized a march to honor Nisman a month after his death.

Related: Massive 'March of Silence' Marks One Month Since Argentine Prosecutor's Mysterious Death

He became directly involved in the case following a request that the investigation be transferred to federal jurisdiction that originally came from Nisman's ex-wife, Sandra Arroyo Salgado, and his daughters.

This request was rejected by the judge presiding over the investigation, Fabiana Palmaghini. Saenz was brought in to give his opinion when it went to appeal.

"It is the judges that make the decisions and the prosecutors can only emit opinions," Juan Pablo Vigliero, the family's lawyer, told VICE News. "All the same it is important that an official backs up what we have been arguing on our own."

Related: Privilege, Trauma, Political Opportunity and Luck Mark Argentina's New President

Follow Gaston Cavanagh on Twitter: @gastoncavanagh

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