‘Nisman was assassinated’ claims family
Ex-wife of Argentina prosecutor cites report that rules out suicide and accidental death
Federal judge Sandra Arroyo Salgado, former wife of late Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman, speaks during a news conference in Buenos Aires. Independent forensic tests show that Mr Nisman was murdered, the deceased prosecutor’s ex-wife said on Thursday. Photograph: Enrique Marcarian/Reuters
The former wife of a federal prosecutor who died of a gunshot wound to the head after making explosive accusations against Argentina’s president charged Thursday that he had been murdered - reviving a bitter debate here over the mysterious circumstances shrouding his death.
Citing a report by investigators she had hired, Sandra Arroyo Salgado, the former wife of Alberto Nisman, said at a news conference: “Suicide and an accident are totally ruled out, so we can only conclude that Nisman was without doubt the victim of a homicide.”
The official investigation into Mr Nisman’s death, which has shaken the country and turned ordinary Argentines into armchair detectives, has yet to establish whether he shot himself or was killed.
“Nothing allows me to categorically assert today that it was suicide or homicide,” Viviana Fein, the prosecutor leading the investigation, said Thursday.
Nisman’s body was found in a bathroom of his apartment in Buenos Aires on January 18th, hours before he was to appear before a commission to elaborate on criminal accusations he had filed against President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.
In a 289-page complaint, Mr Nisman accused Ms Kirchner of conspiring to shield Iranian officials from responsibility in the bombing of a Jewish community centre in 1994 that killed 85 people.
He contended that the Argentine government had sought the arrangement as part of a trade pact with Iran. This week, the prosecutor who revived Mr Nisman’s case appealed a judge’s decision to dismiss the complaint against Kirchner.
Arroyo Salgado, a judge herself, said the investigation she commissioned had given “scientific rigour” to her belief that Mr Nisman was killed. She said she hoped the report would help guide the official inquiry. The judge overseeing that investigation will consider Arroyo Salgado’s report when evaluating all the evidence, said Martin Bohmer, a law professor at the University of Buenos Aires. Pointing to evidence of homicide, Arroyo Salgado said Mr Nisman’s body had been moved after his death, and he had suffered “anguish” as he died. That, she said, contradicted autopsy findings suggesting suicide. Also, the pistol used was found on the bathroom floor.
Arroyo Salgado’s comments come amid an onslaught of claims and counterclaims about the events surrounding Mr Nisman’s death. A news agency under the authority of a government ministry, for instance, wrongly said this week that Mr Nisman was drunk at the time of his death and reported that there had been an open bottle of vodka in his apartment. On Thursday, it backtracked on that account.
Ms Kirchner has suggested that Nisman was killed after being manipulated by forces trying to destabilise her government, and she has cast suspicion on a former spymaster who worked with the prosecutor on the bombing investigation.