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January 2, 2020 2:16 pm

‘No Evidence It Was a Murder’: Argentine President Fernandez Reverses Position on Killing of AMIA Bombing Investigator Alberto Nisman

avatar by Ben Cohen

‘I am Nisman’: Protesters in Buenos Aires gather following the January 2015 murder of Alberto Nisman. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Argentina’s recently-elected president questioned on Wednesday the “scientific rigor” behind a 2017 police investigation which concluded that Alberto Nisman — the late federal prosecutor investigating the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires — had been assassinated.

In a New Year’s Day interview with the Argentine news outlet Clarin, Alberto Fernandez — who was elected president of the Latin American country in October — revived the claim of the former administration of Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner that Nisman had committed suicide. The interview coincided with the release on Netflix of a six-part documentary on the murder of Nisman.

Nisman’s body was discovered in his Buenos Aires apartment on Jan. 18 2015 — hours before he was due to formally unveil a legal complaint against Kirchner and several of her colleagues for allegedly conspiring with the Tehran regime to block efforts to extradite the Iranian suspects behind the AMIA atrocity, in which 85 people were killed and more than 300 wounded.

“The accumulated evidence does not suggest that there was a murder,” Fernandez told Clarin. He then added that “the only thing that contradicts this claim was a Gendarmeria investigation that seems to lack all scientific rigor.”

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For nearly a year after his death, Nisman’s demise was depicted by the Argentine authorities as a suicide, rather than a murder.

However, an independent investigation in 2017 by the Gendarmeria, a national law enforcement agency, concluded definitively from its examination of the crime scene that Nisman was murdered.

A few weeks after the publication of the Gendarmeria report, Federal Judge Julian Ercolini issued a 656-page ruling determining that Nisman had been murdered.

Critically, the contention that Nisman was assassinated was endorsed by Alberto Fernandez until he became Argentina’s president.

A former chief of staff to Kirchner, who now serves as his vice president, Fernandez gave an interview in 2017 that featured in the Netflix documentary, in which he said plainly: “To this day, I doubt that he [Nisman] committed suicide.”

On another occasion, Fernandez even attacked Kirchner for colluding with the Iranians on a 2013 Memorandum of Understanding that would have replaced the AMIA investigation with a toothless “truth commission.”

“Cristina knows that she has lied and that the memorandum signed with Iran only sought to cover up the defendants,” Fernandez asserted in a Feb. 16, 2015 oped for the newspaper La Nacion.

“There is nothing to prove,” he wrote.

But in the weeks since his election as president, Fernandez has reverted to depicting Nisman’s murder as a suicide. So too have other officials in the new left-leaning government, among them Security Minister Sabina Frederic, who announced last week that the government was “reviewing” the Gendarmeria’s conclusion that Nisman was assassinated.

Explaining his apparent change of heart on the nature of Nisman’s death, Fernandez claimed during his interview with Clarin that his legal training was the reason.

“Tell me who benefits from the crime and I will tell you who the murderer is,” Fernandez said. He went on to argue that Kirchner could not have been involved with Nisman’s death, since it “was obvious that if a crime was committed, she would be the one to be harmed by it.”

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