Doubts in Argentina as officials say prosecutor shot self | News | DW | 19.01.2015
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Doubts in Argentina as officials say prosecutor shot self

Officials say an Argentine prosecutor found dead hours before testifying against the president appears to have committed suicide. Alberto Nisman was found in the bathroom of his Buenos Aires home late Sunday.

Argentine Special Prosecutor Alberto Nisman, 51, died of a .22-caliber gunshot wound close to his right ear, according to the findings of a postmortem examination.

Citing court sources, the state news agency Telam reported a "99 percent probability" that the bullet that caused Nisman's death came from a gun like the weapon found beside the body in his apartment in the capital, Buenos Aires.

"All signs point to suicide," said Argentine national security secretary Sergio Berni.

Nisman was appointed 10 years ago by the late Argentine President Nestor Kirchner to investigate the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people and injured 300.

Last week, Nisman accused current President Cristina Fernandez, Kirchner's widow, of engaging in back channel deals with Iran and blocking investigations into the attack. A legal suit he filed accused Fernandez of working to absolve the Iranian officials accused of orchestrating the bombing.

Anibal Fernandez, secretary general for the presidency, said he was "dumbfounded" by a death with "absolutely nothing normal" about it.

'Fabricate Iran's innocence'

Nisman had been scheduled to testify on Monday in a closed-door hearing with Congress over his claim. He had accused Kirchner of looking the other way to foster trade between the two countries - providing oil to Argentina in exchange for grain exports.

"The president and her foreign minister took the criminal decision to fabricate Iran's innocence to sate Argentina's commercial, political and geopolitical interests," Nisman said last week.

On Monday, opposition politicians expressed their suspicions over the timing and method of Nisman's death. The prosecutor had 10 federal police assigned to his protection, according to a statement from the Security Ministry, which did not provide details on the location of the officers when he died.

"It is important that the justice system act in an independent, rapid and convincing way to tell us what happened to Prosecutor Nisman," Buenos Aires Mayor Mauricio Macri, the president of the right-wing Republican Proposal party, told a press conference on Monday.

"If this death ends in more impunity, it is a disaster for the future of the country."

mkg/cmk (Reuters, AFP, dpa, AP)

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