Argentine judge denies request to reopen Nisman complaint against ex-president  


BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) – A federal judge in Argentina rejected a request to reopen an investigation into allegations by the late AMIA special prosecutor Alberto Nisman that former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and her government covered up Iran’s role in the bombing of a Jewish center.

Federal Judge Daniel Rafecas ruled late last week that no new evidence has come to light and that the case is already closed due to the absence of a proven criminal offense. He also wrote that the accusation had already been rejected by a federal criminal appeals court and that the prosecutor before the Federal Cassation Court also dismissed the case.

Last month, Rafecas turned down the request made in December by prosecutors to reconsider the complaint filed by Nisman four days before his still-unexplained death, which occurred on the day he was to present evidence to Argentine lawmakers that Kirchner covered up Iran’s role in the 1994 attack on the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires that left 85 dead and hundreds wounded.

Prosecutor Raul Plee had asked the judge to review new information collected during a case dealing with the Memorandum of Understanding signed with Iran to co-investigate the bombing, with an eye toward reviving Nisman’s complaint. Iran has been accused of being behind the bombing.

The government of Mauricio Macri voided the pact in December, days after it was sworn in.

Plee wrote in his December request to reopen the complaint that during hearings on the unconstitutionality of the pact with Iran, the Foreign Ministry presented “secret and confidential” documents that could be considered useful to reactivate Nisman’s accusation against Kirchner, her foreign minister, Hector Timerman, who is Jewish, and others.

Meanwhile, the  investigation into Nisman’s shooting death could take new turn at the end of the week. On Friday, the Buenos Aires City Appeals Court will hold a public hearing with all parties involved to decide if the investigation into Nisman’s death will be sent to a federal court. Murder cases are handled by the federal courts.

At the end of February, prosecutor Ricardo Sáenz called for a federal investigation of the Nisman case. Saenz, the attorney general for Argentina’s Criminal Appeals Court, said a federal magistrate “has the broadest jurisdiction to clarify which of all the assumptions” involving Nisman’s death is the truth. Some have called his death a homicide, while others believe that the prosecutor took his own life.

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