For the first time, an Argentinian judge ruled that Alberto Nisman, the prosecutor investigating Iran’s involvement in the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires and the agreement made by former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner with Iran, was murdered.
In a 656-page indictment, Reuters reported, Judge Julián Ercolini indicated on Tuesday that there was enough evidence to conclude that the gunshot that killed Nisman was not self-inflicted, “Nisman’s death could not have been a suicide,” the judge asserted.
Earlier this year, a toxicology report found evidence of ketamine and clonazepam in Nisman’s blood at the time his death. Clonazepam is a tranquilizer and ketamine is an anesthetic that is often used by veterinarians on animals. The following month, a team of forensic analysts concluded that Nisman was forcefully held down, had bruises on his left leg, head, nose, and abdomen, and that the position and angle of the gunshot were not compatible with that of a self-inflicted wound, making it physically impossible for Nisman to have committed suicide that way.
In his ruling, Ercolini also charged Diego Lagomarsino—Nisman’s former computer technician and aide— as an accessory to murder.
Lagomarsino acknowledged that he lent Nisman the gun that was used to kill him but claimed that Nisman had asked for the gun to protect himself and his daughters.
Ercolini also noted that Lagomarsino had earned Nisman’s trust after working with him for eight years and that he was aware of the layout of Nisman’s Puerto Madero apartment, including the location of security cameras. The ruling also described that Lagomarsino had gone to Nisman’s apartment twice the day before he was murdered, and that the second time he left very close to the estimated time of Nisman’s death.
The Judge ordered Lagomarsino to continue to wear the electronic bracelet and froze his bank accounts.
The New York Times reported, that, in his ruling, Ercolini also highlighted that Kirchner along with several of her colleagues, not even 24 hours after Nisman’s death, “publicly push[ed] the idea of suicide.” Media outlets friendly to Kirchner’s government helped push that theory, the judge wrote.
Ercolini also indicted four of Mr. Nisman’s bodyguards charging them with negligence and participating in the murder cover-up by allowing the gun to enter Nisman’s apartment and not detecting the shooting, allowing for the muderer(s) to leave the scene.
Ercolini’s ruling comes in the same month that Kirchner, former foreign minister Hector Timerman, and several of Kirchner’s colleagues were indicted for treason over Nisman’s allegations that her and her team covered up Iran’s involvement in the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center. An appeals court has subsequently ruled that though the treason charge was not warranted, criminal proceedings could continue against Kirchner and her co-defendants.
Earlier this year, Kirchner was elected senator, and cannot be detained due to her senatorial immunity unless the Senate strips away her immunity. Claudio Bonadio, the judge handling the case, has asked the Senate to strip away Kirchner’s immunity.
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