الإثنين , يونيو 8 2020

Top Argentine prosecutor found dead

Alberto Nisman at his office in Buenos Aires on 29 May, 2013Alberto Nisman had been in charge of the probe into the Amia bombing for the past 10 years

An Argentine federal prosecutor who accused President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner last week of a cover-up has been found dead at his home in the capital, Buenos Aires.

Alberto Nisman was investigating the 1994 bombing of a Jewish centre in Buenos Aires in which 85 people died.

On Wednesday, he accused the president of involvement in a plot to cover up Iran’s alleged role in the bombing.

The president’s spokesman dismissed the allegations as “ridiculous”.

Mr Nisman, 51, was found dead by his mother in the bathroom of his home.

Members of the coast guard guard the entrance of the apartment building where Alberto Nisman was found dead on 19 January, 2015Mr Nisman was found dead in his flat in an apartment block in Buenos Aires

The Security Ministry released a statement saying that Mr Nisman’s bodyguards had raised the alarm after he failed to answer their phone calls on Sunday.

Concerned about his welfare, they fetched Mr Nisman’s mother and tried to enter his apartment, the statement said.

They found the door locked from the inside with a key still stuck inside.

After a locksmith gained access, they found Mr Nisman’s body in the bathroom.

According to the statement, a gun and a cartridge shell were found next to his body.

Key hearing

Mr Nisman was due to give evidence at a congressional committee hearing on Monday to outline his accusations against President Fernandez and other officials.

File photo from 18 July 1994 showing rescue workers searching the rubble of the Argentine-Israeli Mutual Association community centre after a car bomb exploded Eighty-five people died in the 1994 bombing

He had published a 300-page report on Wednesday alleging that the president and Foreign Minister Hector Timerman had opened a secret back channel to Iranians suspected of involvement in the bombing of the community centre.

Mr Nisman alleged that the scheme was intended to clear the Iranian suspects in order to facilitate a trade deal between Iran and Argentina.

He said that he had issued a request that a judge question the president and the foreign minister “for being authors and accomplices of an aggravated cover-up and obstruction of justice regarding the Iranians accused of the Amia [Israeli-Argentine Mutual Association] terrorist attack”.

The car bombing of the seven-storey building was the worst terrorist attack in Argentina’s history.

In 2007, Argentine prosecutors accused Iran of planning and financing the attack, and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah of carrying it out.

Iran dismissed the allegations as “baseless”.

So far, no-one has been convicted in connection with the Amia attack.

Last July, at events marking the 20th anniversary of the bombing, Pope Francis demanded justice for the victims.

In a recorded video to mark the anniversary, the Pope described the attack as an “act of madness”.

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