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Argentine Judge Rules AMIA Prosecutor Alberto Nisman Was Murdered, Indicts Key Aide as Accessory

avatar by Ben Cohen and Agencies

The late Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman pauses during a meeting with journalists in May 2013. Photo: Reuters / Marcos Brindicci.

Alberto Nisman — the Argentine prosecutor who was found dead in his apartment nearly three years ago, hours before he was due to outline charges against former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner for allegedly covering up Iran’s role in the July 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires — was murdered, a federal judge has ruled.

In a 656-page ruling issued on Tuesday, judge Julian Ercolini said there was sufficient proof to conclude that the shot to the head that killed Nisman in January 2015 was not self-inflicted.

Ercolini’s ruling marked the first time any judge has said that Nisman was murdered. A report published earlier this year from the gendarmeria, Argentina’s domestic security service, also concluded, based on forensic studies, that the prosecutor had been shot dead by intruders.

Ercolini’s other key decision was the indictment of Diego Lagomarsino — a computer technician and former assistant of Nisman’s with whom the prosecutor maintained a close professional relationship — as an accessory to murder.

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Lagomarsino has acknowledged lending Nisman the gun that was used to kill him. Lagomarsino has previously said Nisman asked him for the gun to protect himself and his family.

In his ruling, Ercolini noted that Lagomarsino had paid two visits to Nisman’s apartment on January 17, 2015, the day before the murder. This was “clearly indicative” of Lagomarsino’s “knowledge and intentional participation” in the murder of Nisman, the judge said. He also observed that Lagomarsino had earned Nisman’s trust over a working relationship of eight years, with the result that Lagomarsino was intimately familiar with the layout of the AMIA prosecutor’s apartment, including the locations of security cameras.

Lagomarsino has now been ordered to wear an electronic tracking device and is forbidden from leaving the country.

Ercolini’s ruling on Tuesday came at the end of a month that saw ex-President Kirchner and several of her colleagues indicted for treason. That was the consequence of a separate investigation into the substance of Nisman’s claims about her government’s collusion with Iran, headed by federal judge Claudio Bonadio. Bonadio has asked Argentina’s Senate to lift Kirchner’s immunity from prosecution.

Kirchner was in office for almost a year following Nisman’s murder, before she was defeated in national elections by current President Mauricio Macri in November 2015. Throughout that time, she insisted that Nisman’s murder had been a suicide, which was the point of departure for the initial investigation into the prosecutor’s death initiated by her government.

Eamonn MacDonagh — an expert on the AMIA case — told The Algemeiner on Wednesday that the indictments issued during December were “a remarkable achievement, given that the organizers of Nisman’s killing had a year in power after carrying it out to blacken the deceased’s name and present Lagomarsino to the public as the real victim.”

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