One Year Without Justice for Nisman, AMIA Victims

Today marks the one year anniversary of the mysterious death of Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who was found dead of a gunshot wound to the head in his apartment only hours before he was set to testify in the Argentine Congress about his wide-ranging criminal complaint against then-President Cristina Kirchner, then-Foreign Minister Hector Timerman, and a number of officials and militant supporters of the Kirchner government at the time. Nisman accused Kirchner of signing her controversial 2013 Memorandum of Understanding with Iran as part of a plan to collude with the Iranian government to gain impunity for the perpetrators of the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish Center in Buenos Aires in exchange for commercial benefits for Argentina. One year later and Nisman’s death still has not been fully investigated, nor resolved.

The Argentine press has extensively commemorated the anniversary of Nisman’s death, and the continuing demand from Argentine society for truth and justice in the Nisman case, as well as in the AMIA investigation, which he led. There are special sections devoted to Nisman on the websites of Clarin and La Nacion and El Cronista’s 3Dias supplement on Friday was devoted to Nisman.

There were also new developments reported.

  • On Sunday, President Mauricio Macri met in his home with Nisman’s young daughters, where he promised justice for their late father to whom he said “society owes a debt.”
  • Clarin published an op-ed by Nisman’s daughter, Iara, in its Sunday edition, where she wrote, “my father’s murder was meant to stoke fear” and that she admired him since her early childhood “for the investigation into the bombing of the AMIA and, in general, his studies to combat terrorism.”
  • La Nacion notes the anticipated return of former Argentine intelligence chief Antonio Stiuso to Argentina next month to testify before Judge Fabiana Palmaghini.
  • Clarin reports that the focus of the investigation is also shifting to former officials of the Kirchner government and their actions on the day Nisman died, as well as at the crime scene after his body was discovered.
  • La Nacion reports that a separate criminal investigation has discovered that the same state employee at Ezeiza airport who videotaped Nisman’s return to Buenos Aires a week before his death had also taped Nisman’s former wife, Sandra Arroyo Salgado, and Iara Nisman’s return four days after his death.
  • In Clarin, Nicolas Winazki writes of “the key clues that Viviana Fein didn’t follow,” including how investigators tracked the malware hack into Nisman’s laptop and cell phone – through which information, messages, call records and files were obtained, and deleted, and the devices were controlled and monitored remotely for a period of two months – and found the hack was taking place from an IP address in the province of Buenos Aires. Investigators tracked it to the address of an official from that same province. Winazki writes that the investigators were ready to raid the location when they presented their findings to Fein, but she never replied to them and never took action.
  • This morning, Daniel Santoro writes in Clarin that Nisman’s secretary, Soledad Castro, testified in the investigation that Nisman cut his vacation short a year ago and returned abruptly to Argentina “because he received information” that Argentine Attorney General Alejandra Gils Carbo – a militant supporter of the Kirchner government – “was going to fire him” and prevent him from completing his investigation into Kirchner and her officials. For that reason, Castro testified, Nisman moved quickly to file the complaint and bring secret evidence to a closed session of the Argentine House Committee overseeing criminal justice. But his death finally prevented it.

It has been one year since the tragic death of Special Prosecutor Natalio Alberto Nisman. Significant evidence has been brought to light, but justice still remains to be served. As the Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ Toby Dershowitz noted today in The Hill, it is time for the United States to help Argentina, and Macri’s new administration, solve this terrorism case. “It is imperative that the U.S. and other friendly governments help the new Argentine president as he seeks to right his country’s judicial integrity, an effort for which Alberto Nisman gave his life to protect.”