U.S. forensic pathologist: Nisman case more likely a homicide


BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) — A U.S. forensic pathologist believes that the late Argentine special prosecutor Alberto Nisman likely was murdered.

“The evidence argues strongly and scientifically against it being a suicide,” Cyril Wecht said in an interview aired by Argentina television’s Channel 13 on Sunday night. “It is much more likely that this was a homicide than a suicide.”

Wecht has been president of the American Academy of Forensic Science and the American College of Legal Medicine, and has performed about 17,000 autopsies. He has consulted on several high-profile cases, including the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

At the request of the Argentine current events show “Periodismo para todos,” hosted by the eminent Argentine journalist Jorge Lanata, Wecht analyzed Nisman’s case photos, videos, studies and forensic reports. Interviewed from Pittsburgh, Wecht said that the position of the gun would have made it difficult for Nisman to shoot himself.

Forensic experts have differed on the cause of death. Many have said it will be difficult to establish one unified version of how Nisman died, with some experts believing it was suicide and others murder.

Prosecutor Viviana Fein has not yet released a final ruling.

“I cannot determine for the moment whether it was a suicide or a homicide,” she said on March 6, when she convened the authors of the independent forensic report to examine their evidence.

On Monday, the New Yorker published a Reporter-At-Large piece about Nisman’s death by Dexter Filkins, who interviewed Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner last week.

“During my interview with Kirchner, she seemed unnerved by talking about Nisman’s death,” Filkins wrote. “When I raised the question of whether she’d had him killed, she blurted, “No!,” and then handed me a printout of the statement that she’d written for her website. She seemed mostly disturbed by the damage that Nisman’s death was doing to her reputation.”

Kirchner published a transcript of the interview on her personal blog a day before the interview was posted by the New Yorker.

Filkins concludes: “By Jewish tradition, people who kill themselves are sometimes denied a proper burial; in the cemetery in La Tablada, suicides have been relegated to a far corner. After some discussion, Nisman’s body was buried not with those who killed themselves but with the victims of the AMIA attack.”

Nisman was found shot to death in January in his Buenos Aires apartment hours before he was to present his evidence on an alleged government cover-up that included Kirchner into Iran’s role in the deadly 1994 attack on the Buenos Aires Jewish center. Argentine courts dismissed Nisman’s complaint.

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