In a surprise twist, Argentinean President Cristina Kirchner has backpedaled on the death of prosecutor Alberto Nisman, whose body was found on January 18 in mysterious circumstances. Through a message released via her Twitter account on January 22, the president abandoned the suicide hypothesis, supported thus far by her and most Kirchneristas: “The suicide … (I am convinced) was no suicide.”
After Kirchner’s about-turn, her position is that Nisman got caught up in an operation to oust the president from power, and that he was the unwitting bearer of fabricated evidence.
To whom was the president referring when she said that someone “planted” false evidence in his possession? Antonio Horario “Jaime” Stiuso is the man, former director of operations of the Intelligence Secretariat, who worked with Nisman while investigating the AMIA case. Nisman and Stiuso, who was removed from office in December, followed the line of investigation that led to the allegations that Iranian officials were responsible for the 1994 bombing in Buenos Aires.
La acusación de Nisman no sólo se derrumba, sino que constituye un verdadero escándalo político y jurídico.http://t.co/WALTcbRNbS
— Cristina Kirchner (@CFKArgentina) January 22, 2015
“The questions are now certainties,” Kirchner said on Thursday morning. Nisman “was used alive and then was needed dead. So sad and terrible.”
The president further clarified that Nisman’s allegations never were the “real operation against the government,” but the investigator “probably never knew.”
On the contrary, Kirchner claims the real operation against the government was the death of the prosecutor as a vehicle to implicate alleged accessories of the Iranians in the terrorist attack on the AMIA: the president, Chancellor Héctor Timerman, Secretary General Andrés Larroque of the Kirchnerista youth wing, former piquetero Luis D’Elía, and Marxist Quebracho leader Fernando Esteche.
The President’s Questions
Kirchner, to support her theory that Nisman did not commit suicide, puts forward several rhetorical questions about the death of the judicial officer: “Why would someone who writes a message in his chat … to explain to a closed group of friends his untimely return to the country, then kill himself?… Was it meant for the presidential campaign? Or maybe he took the lead after the changes in the Ministry of Intelligence?”
CFK Lunes: "¿Qué fue lo que llevó a una persona a tomar la terrible decisión de quitarse la vida?" CFK Jueves: "No fue suicidio" #Nisman
— Guillermo Lobo (@GuilleLobo) January 22, 2015
“Why would someone who sent a picture of his desk, with papers and highlighters … assuring [a member of the Argentinean Jewish Association] that he was preparing for the meeting on Monday in Congress, kill himself?”
And finally, “How is it possible that the entrance to the place where prosecutor Nisman’s body lied, was opened for a private doctor from a charity rather than the judge, his superiors, and forensics?”
In her letter, the head of the Argentinean government asks for “a lot of protection for [Diego] Lagomarsino, the prosecutor’s collaborator, who provided him with the 22-caliber gun found in his apartment, next to the body.” She also calls for an investigation “as quickly as possible” into the federal police guarding him.
On January 20, three days prior to Kirchner’s change of heart, Front for Victory deputies (the ruling party) held a press conference to quell concerns of murder. They acknowledged the presence of a “gangster sector” circling Nisman’s death. However, they affirmed support for the suicide hypothesis.
This theory was led by Sergio Berni, secretary of security and the first officer to arrive at the deceased prosecutor’s department. Moreover, on Tuesday, the judge in charge of the AMIA case, Rodolfo Canicoba Corral, said that there was “an investigation into the suicide of the prosecutor.”
Translated by Rebeca Morla. Edited by Fergus Hodgson.